Residents in north Park Slope are doing their part to save the Key Food—or keep something very much like it—on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sterling Place, which we learned earlier this month is slated for a mixed-use development by Avery Hall Investments. The chain market is one of the only large, convenient, and affordable places remaining in the vicinity for nightly grocery shopping. It’s also one of a breed that is sorely lacking throughout the city, now replaced regularly by expensive alternatives like Whole Foods, Fairway, and the ilk.
Park Slope resident Anita Bushell started Save the Fifth Avenue Key Food with a petition online and on Facebook to convince developers to keep a similarly affordable market on the ground floor space, according to DNAinfo. Bushell hopes the campaign can garner 1,000 signatures, and she’s partnered with Park Slope Neighbors to gather support. Once their numbers are reached, Bushell will present the petition to Mayor de Blasio, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and City Councilman Brad Lander. DNAinfo says Lander has previously succeeded in convincing developer Hidrock Realty to keep a movie theater on the ground floor of residential project.
For its part, Avery Hall Investments stated it “looks forward to consulting with the community about its concerns.” They have not, however, confirmed whether a grocery store will be included in their plans for the mixed use space. In their developments-in-progress elsewhere in Brooklyn, they have opted for somewhat less practical amenities, like a gym, a playroom, and common and private terraces.
A representative for the firm also stated that they are “committed to creating a project that is a benefit to the community as a whole and takes seriously the interest expressed by community members in including a grocery store as part of the project.”
Sounds predictably non-committal, but, in this case, there is a slightly better chance something might come of it: Brian Ezra, one of the firm’s partners, is a fourth-generation Park Slope-native. There will be a lot of ire to face from his old neighbors—and well-placed at that—if they don’t get their way.