The sale last week of Gardens at Great Neck shopping center, one of eight Long Island shopping centers sold to Kimco Realty, has spurred peninsula residents to push for a Trader Joe’s to occupy the space formerly home to Best Market.
Kimco, a company based out of Jericho, is the continent’s largest publicly traded owner and operator of open-air, grocery-anchored shopping centers.
The Gardens at Great Neck, located in Great Neck Plaza adjacent to the LIRR station, has Starbucks and Rite Aid as retail tenants but remains without a specific grocery store following Best Market closing up shop last year.
“This acquisition was a rare chance to expand our presence in one of Kimco’s most highly desired markets, with a portfolio of irreplaceable real estate located in one of the most heavily trafficked, densely populated, suburbs that offers high barriers to entry and affluent communities,” Kimco CEO Conor Flynn said in a statement.
Since the announcement of Kimco’s acquisition of the shopping center last week, a petition was launched by Great Neck resident Janet Nina Esagoff and has gained more than 1,300 signatures.
Esagoff, one of the founders of Destination: Great Neck — a grassroots organization seeking to revive the peninsula — lauded the diverse population and highly touted public school district as to why Trader Joe’s should set up shop in the Plaza.
“Great Neck has attracted a diverse, affluent community of 45,000 people of different ethnic backgrounds, including a large kosher-observant community,” Esagoff said in the petition. “Great Neck residents seek gourmet, high-quality, healthy grocery items and [Trader Joe’s] is the only specialty market that fits the bill for our discerning and health-conscious community.”
Efforts to reach a representative from Trader Joe’s for comment on the matter were unavailing.
Online rumblings about Lidl, the Germany-based supermarket chain that has purchased more than 20 Best Markets on Long Island, filling the vacant space were prominent in the early months of 2021.
Lidl’s U.S. Twitter account said their team was “looking at other sites in the Great Neck region” but had not “identified a suitable location.”
Lidl purchased 27 New Jersey and New York Best Market stores, 24 of which are located on Long Island, in January 2019 for an undisclosed price.
After the Best Market shuttered in February 2021, the main grocery stores left on the peninsula are Everfresh Supermarket on Middle Neck Road, Shop Delight on Welwyn Road, H Mart on Great Neck Road, North Shore Farms in Lake Success, Badshah Farmers Market on Lakeville Road and Associated Supermarkets on Middle Neck Road.