Former supermarket operator Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. will turn over nearly three dozen store leases to the locations’ landlords, including 11 now-vacant Waldbaum’s and Pathmarks on Long Island that it has been unable to sell.
The move, approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge in White Plains this week, will allow the landlords to lease the space to new tenants, who may not be grocery store operators.
The judge approved requests by A&P to get out of the majority of its remaining real estate leases, including its corporate headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey, and the Long Island locations. The lease rejections are meant to eliminate costs to A&P, which filed for Chapter 11 in July. The rejections will be applied retroactively to the end of last month, court records show.
“After a lengthy marketing and sales process, the Debtors [A&P] have reviewed and analyzed their remaining leases . . . to identify those leases that are burdensome,” according to a court filing.
The leases to be returned to landlords include those for the former Waldbaum’s locations in Garden City Park, Oakdale, Stony Brook, East Meadow and Lindenhurst; and the former Pathmarks in Port Jefferson, Holbrook, North Babylon, Massapequa and Patchogue.
“We now have the freedom to market the space to whomever we want to,” said Steve Appas, leasing director for Serota Properties, the Valley Stream-based landlord of the former Waldbaum’s on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook. “As for any future tenants, we are already in discussions with many different retailers of all shapes, sizes and uses. Unfortunately they are all too early in the process for us to identify them to the public.”
Earlier this week, the judge also approved the lease sale of the former Pathmark store in Dix Hills to its landlord, LG Other Associates LLC, based in Hewlett, for more than $400,000. A representative for the company, which is associated with Saul Learner Management Corp., declined to comment.
All 51 stores open on Long Island ceased operation by A&P by November.
So far, 34 stores have been bought, mostly by other supermarket chains. Five were closed in October, while the future of the Waldbaum’s locations in Massapequa and Hauppauge remains unknown.