After several failed transactions and a complicated bidding process following the Great Atlantic & Pacific Company’s (A&P) Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing, Queens-based Asian market J-Mart Group Inc., was the winning bidder at the January 26 auction for Bensonhurst’s shuttered Waldbaums (8121 New Utrecht Avenue).
According to retail trend and grocery news site Coupons in the News, J-Mart outbid a previous company, Z&CCW, Inc, at the January 26 auction. While no updated amount has been released, legal documents reveal that as of January 12, when Z&CCW, Inc. was the highest bidder, the cash purchase price for the property was $10 million.
“We’re very pleased that the spot is no longer vacant and that it’s not a gap for something; it is a supermarket,” said spokesperson Travis Lamprecht on behalf of Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who had been advocating for a supermarket to replace Waldbaums.
There has been no shortage of community input regarding the store’s sale. While residents originally hoped for the space to become a Key Food—even rallying outside the store on November 19, the supermarket’s last day of operation, when that deal fell through—concern for the neighborhood’s shortage of supermarkets really shook the community.
In fact, after two supermarkets closed in the area, locals started a change.org petition in hopes of bringing grocery chain Trader Joe’s into the nabe. However, some residents used the page to bash the heavily Asian-populated neighborhood—leaving racially offensive comments and supporting a supermarket in the area as long as it was not “another Asian market.”
Gentile, however, hopes Bensonhurst can meet in the middle.
“He is planning on meeting with community leaders in the area and meeting with the store owners about maybe widening the food options, to kind of hit some more of the mainstream options,” Lamprecht said about Gentile’s next move. “But, he does know that they do have really great fresh vegetables and fruits.”
A sale hearing to finalize the deal will be held on Friday, February 5. If the sale is approved by the bankruptcy court, J-Mart will officially be Bensonhurst’s newest market. The company specializes in seafood, meats and produce from American, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Vietnamese suppliers.