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NYU pledges to save Morton Williams supermarket


NYU has announced that if the local Morton Williams supermarket is demolished, it plans to move a grocery store nearby.

Morton Williams Supermarket is located at 130 Bleecker Street (Shayna Ahmed for WSN)

A Morton Williams supermarket — one of the only grocery stores in the Greenwich Village area — will not be displaced from the neighborhood, according to university president Andrew Hamilton and a group of elected city officials.

A supermarket located on NYU-owned land at Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place, was the focus of a years-long dispute between the university and the residents of Greenwich Village. The grocery store was previously slated for demolition with no plans to replace it due to NYU’s plans to develop the property.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the university announced that if Morton Williams is demolished for construction, it will find a new location for the store nearby. A university spokesman said NYU has not yet found a replacement.

“We are happy that the university is taking an active role on behalf of the supermarket and the residents who rely on it,” said Avi Kanner, owner of several Morton Williams locations in New York. “Great credit goes to members of the local community who came forward to support the preservation of the supermarket.”

As part of NYU’s master plan, development project announced in 2007 by former university president John Sexton, New York University planned to build buildings with a total area of ​​about six million square feet. The plan included 181 Mercer, a billion-dollar building that would add more classrooms, recreation areas and residences to the Washington Square campus.

181 Mercer in approval process in 2012. NYU entered into an agreement with the New York City School Building Authority. This allowed SCA, which manages school construction in New York City, to build a public school on the site, jeopardizing the supermarket’s lease. The agreement was extended twice from late 2014 to late 2021, leaving community members uncertain about Morton Williams’ future at the site.

Last November, the SCA finally came up with a plan to build a public school, further jeopardizing Morton Williams’ lease with the university. Construction of a school that would take a The area is 100,000 square feet on a $65 million lot, is slated to begin by the end of next year.

Despite his optimism about NYU’s relocation announcement, Conner said he doesn’t want Morton Williams to move from his current location. He noted that the supermarket extended its lease for an additional 20 years in April last year and said it would “do everything in [his] capacity to continue delivering fresh produce to the West Village.”

Representative Gerald Nadler, New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and state senators Brad Hoylman and Brian Kavanagh, who signed the Nov. 1 statement, also accused the university of wrongly blaming the problems on elected officials in lower Manhattan. New York Daily News edition earlier this year. They urged New York University to provide space for a grocery store and also to build a school, which the university agreed to do.

Greenwich Village resident Anthony Milone said he relies on Morton Williams because it’s the only supermarket close to where he lives and it’s open late enough for him to buy groceries after work.

“I want the supermarket to stay,” Milon said. “This is very important for society. It’s very useful for a lot of people here who get off work late, so anything we can do to keep it going I know will be better for the community.”

University spokesman John Beckman said NYU initially considered including a grocery store in the 181 Mercer development project and noted that it was not a mandatory requirement. However, the university abandoned the plan because it believed the market would be able to stay in its current location.

Beckman also said the university had no reason to believe SCA would use the lot because it had no intention of doing so during the construction and design of 181 Mercer.

“Morton Williams is and has been a good tenant, and we intend to keep it in its current location at Bleecker and LaGuardia for many years to come,” Beckman wrote to WSN. “Aware that SCA may decide to ultimately build a public school on the Morton Williams property, we regularly surveyed the neighborhood and, in fact, identified several potential sites that, upon careful consideration, did not meet the size requirements or presented other obstacles.”

Steinhardt Administrator Kelsey Cook said that while the addition of the public school will be beneficial to the district, she believes keeping the supermarket’s current location is important to the residents and community members who rely on the store.

“You still have to think about the social life here — that’s really important,” Cook said. “There just needs to be power sources available, so as long as city planning takes that into account, that would be great.”

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected]

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