A federal bankruptcy judge Friday approved the sale of 11 more Waldbaum's and Pathmark supermarkets on Long Island owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.
The approval of 11 of 14 Long Island sales up for consideration came from Judge Robert Drain during a hearing in federal bankruptcy court in White Plains. Decisions on the other three stores were adjourned until Monday, pending a resolution between bidders and the unions representing workers at those locations.
The workers "know the neighborhood. They know their job," Drain said. "It is good business to see if the people who are there can be hired."
So far, 28 Long Island A&P stores have been bought or bid on, and five more are scheduled to close, while 18 stores remain unsold. The unsold locations may still be auctioned; if buyers are not found, they are expected to close.
"To say it has taken a tremendous amount of work is an understatement," A&P attorney Ray Schrock said during the hearing. A&P, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, has tried "to save as many jobs as possible," he said.
Bids approved Friday include a $700,000 bid by Federal Realty Investment Trust, the landlord of Melville Mall, to buy the lease of the Melville Waldbaum's.
Also approved were bids from Key Food for Waldbaum's locations in Center Moriches, at $2.21 million, and Mattituck, at $4.375 million. Key Food's previous bid to buy Waldbaum's stores in Albertson and Glen Head as part of a $28 million purchase package of 15 stores was also approved.
"We are hiring all current Waldbaum's staff at their current rates and will recognize" the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said Key Food operator Lenny Mandell, who along with his brother David will take over the Glen Head location.
Bids from Wakefern Food Corp., a cooperative operating under the ShopRite banner on Long Island, were approved for a Waldbaum's store in Deer Park, and two Pathmark stores in Bethpage and New Hyde Park as part of a $40 million purchase package of 12 stores.
Other bids approved include King Kullen's $2.5 million offer for the Waldbaum's location in North Patchogue, as well as a $525,000 bid from Brixmor Properties Group for the Waldbaum's in East Setauket. Also, a $2.3 million bid by Saxon Sunrise Realty, the landlord of the Pathmark in Bay Shore.
Among the bids still awaiting decisions are two from Best Yet Market, a family-owned nonunion operator, on the Waldbaum's in Merrick for $2.715 million and Westhampton Beach for $4 million, and a $3.45 million bid from H Mart, a New Jersey-based Asian-American supermarket chain, for the Waldbaum's in Jericho.
A&P workers and residents have filed petitions with the court opposing the sale of their stores to Best Yet and H Mart, citing the loss of union jobs.
One of the previously unsold stores on Long Island, the Pathmark in Brentwood, has received a bid for $600,000 from Brooklyn-based Bogopa Service Corp., owner of the Food Bazaar supermarket chain, according to court documents filed Tuesday. The hearing on that bid has been scheduled for Oct. 29.