Talk of demolishing supermarket to build apartments met with anger in Forest Hills

Queens could lose another supermarket to development, and that is not sitting well with some residents in Forest Hills. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

Located at the corner of Queens and Yellowstone Boulevard, a Key Food supermarket has been a lifeline for many in a Forest Hills community. Some have been shopping at the location for decades, but that could soon change.

There is talk that a developer is planning to demolish the supermarket to build apartments in the area. The news was met with anger.

"There is no competition here and any food stores," one local man said. "It's going to be a disaster for us."

And concern; the nearest supermarket is another several blocks away.

"So what about people like me who can't get there, four or five blocks away?" one neighborhood resident said.

"I keep seeing these food stores leave, and I think I'm soon going to have to get a bus to go out of town to get a bottle of milk," one woman said.

According to the real estate magazine The Real Deal, the Slate Property Group, through a venture with the Key Food owners, is planning to construct a 170-unit rental building with 40,000-square feet of retail space. The developer has already filed demolition plans with the city.

"This would be a real loss for the neighborhood because this is a completely residential area," one man said.

The neighborhood is home to a large senior population, and that has the local councilwoman concerned about the redevelopment plan. The office of Karen Koslowitz has been flooded with phone calls.

"As soon as the word got out — which was this past week — you can't imagine how many calls I got in my office; people saying, 'What am I going to do? Where am I going to get my food?'" Koslowitz said. "So it means a lot to everybody."

The project does not need any community approval, but the Queens councilwoman is hoping to convince the developer to include a supermarket in the plans.

"If he wants to be a good neighbor in our community, we will talk about it and hopefully he will see our way and give us what we need," Koslowitz said.

Koslowitz is set to meet with the developer next week. Several attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful.  The project will reportedly be completed by 2020.

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