July 29, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Council Member Costa Constantinides has said that the expected closure of two supermarkets in northern Astoria will have a devastating impact on local residents this fall.
Constantinides said that the impending closure of Key Food, located at 22-15 31st St., and Best Market, located at 19-30 37th St., will make it harder for residents to access food.
Both stores plan to shut down in the coming weeks.
The lawmaker said the closures are particularly worrying given that some experts believe a second wave of the coronavirus might hit the city.
“The imminent closure of these two stores will deal a serious blow to northern Astoria,” Constantinides said in a statement Monday.
“More than ever Astoria residents deserve close access to food, especially as the demands for more meals at home remains,” Constantinides said.
Key Food is set to shutter permanently at the end of October after negotiations between Man-Dell Food Stores, which owns the Key Food franchise, and the site’s landlord, Jenel Real Estate, appear to have failed. Man-Dell was looking to extend its lease at the site which comes to an end on Oct 31.
The Queens Post has reached out to Jenel several times but the company has yet to respond.
Constantinides, along with several other elected officials, tried in vain to bring both parties to the table to find a solution. Up to 150 Key Food employees will be laid off.
The building that Key Food currently occupies is expected to be knocked down to make way for a new commercial development that will house a Target store and other retailers.
Best Market is being transformed into a Lidl. Lidl is a German international discount supermarket chain.
The new Lidl store is expected to open early next year, according to Newsday.
Constantinides said that the closures will make it harder for residents to access quality and nutritious food at a time when food insecurity has skyrocketed.
Up to 1 million New Yorkers were going hungry before the pandemic and that number has now doubled, he said, citing city officials.
“No one should ever go hungry,” Constantinides said, before adding that “the long lines to get into grocery stores during the peak this spring might only get longer with the loss of Key Food and temporary closure of Best Market.”
“What we’re experiencing in northern Astoria is a microcosm of an issue all across this city,” he said.
Constantinides said that his office is committed to working with the city, our grocery store unions, and the community to make sure western Queens has access to fulfilling food and jobs.