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Future of Bell Blvd. supermarket site a mystery

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For about two weeks, a metal gate blocked the entrance to the shuttered Associated Supermarket at 42-11 Bell Blvd. as a sign sat outside promising renovations and new management.

Work finally began this week, but the few workers at the site said they did not know if a new supermarket was on the way.

On the surface it seemed like a typical business undergoing a change of ownership, but the future of the prime retail space remains uncertain to all except those most closely involved in it.

Even the building’s owner was not given prior notification of the supermarket’s closing.

Bayside civic leaders Mandingo Tshaka and Frank Skala, Community Board 11 district manager Anne-Marie Boranian, and Bayside Business Association President Judy Limpert knew nothing about the store’s status.

Steven Brown of Midwood Management, the Manhattan company which owns the building, said he had no information about the site even though he had been trying in vain to learn something from Venator Group, the company that holds the lease on the space, ever since the store closed.

Heidi Sele of Venator Group in Manhattan said last week the company was in the middle of negotiations on the Bell Boulevard space and declined to comment.

Associated Supermarkets, whose Bayside store was one of 130 in New York, could not be reached for comment.

When the market initially closed, the management did not remove the store’s produce. This created an odor that reached the sidewalk, and brought complaints from the community, Boranian said. The board passed these complaints along to the Health Department, but Boranian said she did not expect to hear back from the city agency for a few weeks. The produce was eventually removed.     

A nearby store owner said the supermarket has undergone several changes of ownership during the last five years. She said businesses on Bell Boulevard are hampered by a lack of parking on Bell Blvd., relating her own experience to the supermarket’s.

Unless the city has plans to make the street more accessible to shoppers, she said, business on Bell Boulevard will continue to struggle.

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