Joint Statement from NYC School Construction Authority, NYU, and Morton Williams Supermarkets

Brian Kavanagh

December 22, 2023

Morton Williams Supermarket

Today, the New York City School Construction Authority (“SCA”), New York University (“NYU”)  and Morton Williams Supermarkets (“Morton Williams”) announced an agreement that will  preserve the Morton Williams supermarket operating at its current location (the southeast corner  of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Pl.) through 2036, while also retaining the SCA's option for a new  school in the future. 

“I am thrilled with the conscientious work from our team at City Hall and SCA and for the good  will from our partners at NYU and Morton Williams, which contributed to an outcome that will  preserve this supermarket in the West Village, good union jobs and the possibility of a future  school for New Yorkers,” said Mayor Eric Adams. 

"We are especially grateful to members of the community who advocated for continuation of  their primary supermarket," said Morton Williams co-owner Avi Kaner. "We have proudly  served Greenwich Village and NYU for the past 22 years including through 9/11 and Covid,  

always open 24/7 to meet every need. Thank you to NYU and the SCA for working diligently to  develop a thoughtful solution.”  

“When we signed the lease with Morton Williams, NYU’s aim was to have a supermarket at  Bleecker and LaGuardia for many years,” said Kyle Kimball, NYU’s Vice President of  Government and Community Engagement. “This agreement not only allows Morton Williams 

to remain at its current location but will facilitate their ability to continue making investments in  the store that will benefit its customers and ensure uninterrupted access to the store for many  years to come. Additionally, it will allow the SCA and the City of New York to continue  consideration of the site for a future school. In this agreement, we sought to balance the desire  for the supermarket to remain with the potential future public policy needs of the City and the  community. We’re very glad about this outcome, and we thank everybody for working together  to achieve it.” 

“This agreement preserves an important asset in the community while still providing the SCA  with the option to build a school at the site in the future,” said SCA President and CEO Nina  Kubota. “I’d like to thank Mayor Adams and his team along with NYU for helping to broker a  

deal that will allow us to continue our focus on expanding and enhancing school infrastructure to  meet the needs of New York City’s future generations of school children. This is truly a victory  for all parties involved.”  

“This agreement saves the jobs of 60 essential workers and members of Local 338  RWDSU/UFCW, who have proudly served Lower Manhattan for over 20 years,” said John R.  Durso, President, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. “I would like to thank the Mayor, SCA, and NYU  for listening to the demands of the community and finding a solution that allows our members to  continue their work ensuring local residents have access to fresh food and other necessities.  This process has shown how much our members, and their work is valued by the immediate  community and the City of New York, and we’re pleased that they will have the opportunity to  continue serving them.”  

“UFCW Local 342 has stood behind the essential Local 342 members serving the community at  the Morton Williams Supermarket on Bleecker Street as they were facing the store closing,” said  UFCW Local 342 Secretary Treasurer Debra Dunn. “We are proud to stand with Local 338 as  

well as the community in the fight to ensure union workers have a voice. Morton Williams will  not close!!”  

“It is good news today and I am happy to announce that working with the City, NYU and my  fellow elected officials that we have been able to preserve the Morton Williams grocery store at  its current location for the next 13 years,” said Congressmember Jerrold Nadler. “Additionally,  at the same time we are preserving the option to construct a new school at the site in the future  should the need arise.” 

“I’m thankful to all of the partners that heeded the community’s concerns and agreed to  preserve the valuable Morton Williams Supermarket while preserving the possibility of bringing a  much-needed school to Greenwich Village,” said Congressmember Dan Goldman. “Thank  you to NYC SCA, NYU, and the Morton Williams family for moving us forward.” 

"Making sure that Greenwich Village residents retain access to a supermarket while also  ensuring that the City retains its option to build a school in the neighborhood was not an easy  feat," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "I'm thankful to the SCA, NYU, and 

Morton Williams for working on this agreement, which balances what the neighborhood needs  now and how the community may grow in the future." 

“In numerous meetings with the School Construction Authority, NYU, Morton Williams, elected  colleagues, and community residents, I’ve emphasized the critical importance of not pitting the  goal of creating a new school against the need for a supermarket. I am pleased that the  agreement reached this week achieves that goal—ensuring that the community will have access  to a reliable, full-service supermarket for many years to come while preserving the option to  build a new school in the future,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “I thank NYU, the SCA,  Morton Williams, my elected colleagues, the Save Our Supermarket coalition, Community Board  2, Washington Square Village and other community residents, and the supermarket workers  represented by RWDSU Local 338 for all the work that has gone into achieving this consensus.” 

“After many months of working to ensure the preservation of both the supermarket and the  option of a school, I am pleased that an agreement has been reached,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “I look forward to continued discussions with the understanding that for the  time being, the grocery store and garden will remain, and the door is left open for the option of a  school in the future, all of which are commitments by NYU that the community has depended  upon.” 

“Preserving the supermarket and option to build a school is a long-term commitment to ensuring  the community has the necessary amenities and investments to stay healthy. Education and  food access should never be pit against one another, and I commend Mayor Adams’ office, the  School Construction Authority, and New York University for finding productive solutions to save  the supermarket and be able to flexibly plan for future educational needs,” said Council  Member Carlina Rivera. “This deal would not be possible without the advocacy from  community members, and I look forward to working with them on the future needs of the  neighborhood.” 

“When we fight, we win – I am so proud to represent a fiery constituency that petitioned and  protested to have their voices heard throughout a process that tried so hard to remain behind  closed doors,” said Council Member Christopher Marte. “Greenwich Village is still very much  a village, and a grocery store and a garden are some of the most valuable parts of this  community’s ecosystem. While we celebrate this deal, we will also keep the City to their promise  of a new school.” 

"Community Board 2 is gratified that the City retained its option to build the 100,000 sq. ft.  Bleecker Public School — an option currently valued at more than $65 million to NYC taxpayers  and likely increasing, given the scarcity of land in Greenwich Village, the Bleecker School's  transit-rich location and the need for new school capacity as the city implements smaller class  sizes,” said CB2 Chair Susan Kent. “I am relieved that our community will continue to be able  to patronize Morton Williams, a full-feature, traditional supermarket, at its current location.”

“This is a wonderful Holiday present! It's a great victory both for the community, maintaining an  essential service and garden, and maintaining community bonds of which the Morton Williams  supermarket remains an integral part. This victory shows the power of united community  activism. We especially thank our local elected officials, the Adams administration, and our  friends in Local 338 and the Butchers union, as well,” said Alan Gerson, Co-Chair, Save Our  Supermarket

In 2021, Morton Williams and NYU renewed a lease for an additional twenty-years, consisting of  a ten-year initial lease and two five-year renewal options. Morton Williams has operated the  supermarket since 2001. At the same time, for the last nine years, NYU has given the City of  New York extensions of its original 2014 deadline to exercise its option to build a public school  on the site. With this new agreement, the deadline for the SCA to exercise an option to build a  new school has been extended to 2035.