South Queens residents looking for more food shopping options are about to get another one.
The building at 163-20 Cross Bay Blvd. that was home to Duane Reade until it was damaged in Hurricane Sandy will have new life as a Key Food.
A large sign outside the building advertised the store — Almonte’s Key Food — as coming soon. After the facility was flooded in Sandy, Duane Reade never returned and for months what would be done with the building, which is located at the site that was once the Waterview Diner, was an open question. Rumors circulated since the storm that Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Walgreens were eyeing the site, but all of the companies later denied they were looking at opening a store in the building.
When the Key Food will open is still unknown. The company’s press office did not respond to requests for comment as of press time. However, renovation work was being done inside the building as of Wednesday morning.
The building, situated next to Staples, is accessed from the rear where there is a parking lot.
A new supermarket would bring competition to the neighborhood, which has just one big chain serving it — Waldbaum’s, which has two stores, one at 156th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, about six blocks north of the Key Food site, and one in Lindenwood.
“Key Food is good for me since it’s a block away from my house,” said Melissa Sivillo, a mother of two from Howard Beach who said she welcomes a new supermarket.
Some residents say they prefer to go food shopping outside the neighborhood, patronizing stores like Pathmark in Ozone Park, Scaturro’s in Woodhaven and Stop & Shop in Glendale; all several miles from Howard Beach.
Andrew Falzon, a Howard Beach resident who regularly shops at Waldbaum’s, said the new Key Food will be a positive for that supermarket.
“It’ll be good for Waldbaum’s to have some competition,” he said. “Hopefully, it will raise the quality in both stores so that in the end, shoppers will benefit from better-quality stores.”
Ozone Park resident Melissa Planty suggested Howard Beach needs an even more diverse selection of stores.
“If they were smart, they would bring in a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to offset the Italian delis and generic supermarket chains,” she said. “It would be a totally different shopping experience for the neighborhood and much needed.”
Another South Queens market, Met Foods at 102-02 101 Ave. in Ozone Park, recently became a Key Fresh market — a smaller version of Key Food.
The company already had a large presence in southern Queens with three stores in Richmond Hill — one on Lefferts Boulevard, another on Liberty Avenue and a third on 101st Avenue — and two in South Ozone Park, both on Lefferts Boulevard.