The city has made it official: It wants a supermarket inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
That was the goal all along, of course, but only last week did city officials make it known that they were ready to take advantage of a recent victory over preservationists who sought to protect the historical, yet crumbling, buildings inside the Navy Yard known as Admirals Row.
“Our goal is to put this property back to productive use by providing a unique opportunity for developers with the capacity and track record of establishing supermarkets and community-oriented retail that will serve the community and create local jobs,” said Andrew Kimball, president of the Navy Yard, a city entity.
Plans to bring a supermarket to the corner of Flushing Avenue and Navy Street are popular with many local who have faced a long trek to buy fresh food since John Catsimatidis, a developer and ironically the owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, demolished a market on Myrtle Avenue for a residential project that has lagged due to the recession.
“The residents of Vinegar Hill and Farragut and Whitman public housing live in a food desert,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Clinton Hill). “They desperately need a supermarket.”
High-end groceries, like Fairway or Western Beef, which would attract drivers and not just neighborhood shoppers are likely candidates for the space.
Besides the grocery, the Navy Yard wants its future partner to build space for other shops and light industrial uses and an unspecified number of parking spaces for shoppers.
In a concession to the preservationists, two of the 10 neglected Admirals Row buildings will be saved. One is a long, low-slung timber shed and the other was a home for Naval officers.
The decision to salvage the buildings, reached in May, came after a lengthy review by the National Guard, which owns the Admirals Row section of the Navy Yard.
Now, the city can purchase the land from the military.
After the city chooses a developer to build the grocery, the project must go through an additional land-use review because only manufacturing uses are permitted on the site now, said Rob Perris, district manager of Community Board 2.
Perris added that CB2, which would vote on the rezoning, has been generally supportive of the project, passing resolutions in favor of bringing a supermarket to the Navy Yard.