This rumor trumps all other issues for Brighton Beach residents.
Locals are aghast at word that the Trump Village Shopping Center may be demolished and a 40-story tower could replace the shopping oasis for nearby residents — many of whom are senior citizens with limited mobility.
The rumors started swirling in the spring when tenant businesses started telling their regulars that they weren’t able to renew their leases, and an officer on the Trump Village board of directors has started a petition to stop the as-yet-unannounced plans to demolish the shopping hub at 520 Neptune Ave.
“We have an aging population — these people don’t have cars,” said Gloria Hacken, who has been an officer on the Trump Village board for more than 20 years. “It will take away parking, the bank, the post office — this is what they depend on.”
The owner of the property is Rubin Schron, a real estate mogul who tried to buy the Empire State Building for $2 billion dollars last year. Schron bought the shopping center more than a decade ago from Robert S. Trump, the inarguably less-famous younger brother of the real estate personality, Donald.
Hacken said many of the store owners in the tight-knit complex told her their leases are not being renewed and in April, they must vacate their buildings.
The news has devastated locals just as much as the shopkeepers, she said.
“The store owners are very upset — they were told they weren’t going to have their leases renewed,” said Hacken. “Everyone is so upset.”
The district manager for Community Board 13 said the board has heard the rumors and believes such plans are afoot, but as of now, there is no official paperwork to verify the authenticity of the claims.
“The owner — from what we have been told, unverified — wants to build a 40-story tower,” said CB13 district manager Charles Reichenthal.
“There is no paperwork on this at all yet.”
One longtime local suspects Schron is intentionally keeping the plans quiet to keep opposition from gaining steam. But she hopes that when people start asking questions, the truth will trickle out and residents can slow down the plans or stop them entirely with enough publicity.
“Nobody knows exactly what is happening — it has been kept really hush-hush,” said Elaine Berger, who has lived in the Trump Apartments for 32 years. “We need exposure.”