Fairway sells Georgetown outpost to Key Food in bankruptcy auction

Fairway Market sold its outpost in the Georgetown strip mall to Key Food.
Photo by Erica Price

Fairway Market sold its Georgetown outpost to Key Food for $5 million as part of the company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the company said in a Wednesday release.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the auction and are grateful for our dedicated and hard-working employees, suppliers and distributors during this process which has taken place in these unprecedented times,” said Abel Porter, the market’s Chief Executive Officer.

The chain grocer opened the Georgetown outlet at the the Ralph Avenue strip mall in January 2017, marking its second foray in the borough after its larger outpost on the Red Hook waterfront.

The company was struggling financially, and announced its impending bankruptcy filing in January to address its mounting debts — which totaled $174 million in September.

Representatives of Key Food did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to what the cooperative plans for its newly-purchased location — which is currently still in operation under the Fairway banner, operating as an “essential business” during the COVID-19 outbreak that forced other businesses to halt operations.

Fairway Market’s Red Hook store on Van Brunt Street.Photo by Amalia Arms

In addition to the sale of the storefront to Key Food cooperative member Seven Seas Georgetowne, LLC, the company also sold off five stores and a production and distribution center in Manhattan and Westchester to ShopRite owner Village Supermarket, Inc. for some $76 million.

Also as part of the court-supervised sale, the company handed over two real estate leases in New Jersey to Amazon for $1.5 million.

The e-commerce giant reportedly bid on two more stores, including one in Westchester and one in Brooklyn, but those two fell through because Local 1500, the union that represents about 3,000 Fairway Market workers fought against non-union bids, the New York Post reported.

A spokeswoman for Fairway Market declined to comment on whether Amazon put forward a bid for a Brooklyn store, and which of the two outposts Jeff Bezos’s firm was seeking to buy. Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Fairway rep also did not comment on future plans for the outpost at the Red Hook industrial building on Van Brunt Street, but the company press release stated that the unsold stores will continue to operate to meet the surge in demand for groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Fairway Market continues to serve its communities by operating all of its stores, including stores not sold during the Court-supervised auction, and intends to do so for the foreseeable future to accommodate the current public need for our products,” the statement read.