Stop & Shop is (subject to court approval) taking over Waldbaum’s. Now what?

projectstopshopHere is a tip for all you prospective landlords: the shorter the lease, the better. I get how Long Beach was in a different state back in 1983, but oh boy if that 99 year lease was only 20 years with a few 10 year renewal options….. Right now I believe the city gets $92,000 a year. In this day in age that could have been $92,000 monthly. That alone is why change needs to come to that center in some shape or form. The supermarket building will most likely remain the same, but how about the rest?

Re-imaging that land is something which has been talked about for years. The strip stores do not compliment our downtown, so I’m pleased to read in the LB Herald how our city is entertaining change:

“According to [City Manager Jack] Schnirman, feedback the city received from residents during recent public-input meetings to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan indicated that they would like to see the Waldbaum’s shopping center property developed into something else. [LINK]

“..Potential plans presented at the public-input meetings included relocating City Hall to the shopping plaza, and building a mixed-use retail and residential development with a cultural center there.[LINK]

I am guessing if the city went this route, the existing city hall /Kennedy Plaza would be sold off to developers. The Shopping Center could potentially house a larger ‘Kennedy Plaza’ town square, which would be neat. Is this the way to go? Should we just throw a bunch of apartments on top of the strip center and call it a day?

The center’s location adjacent to the LIRR & downtown make it so ripe for redevelopment in a smart way. It’s interesting to see our city think outside the box. Do you like the idea of moving City Hall? I’d love to know what you folks would like to see at the center?



38 Replies to “Stop & Shop is (subject to court approval) taking over Waldbaum’s. Now what?”

  1. Great! Let’s spend $8,000,000 to acquire the remainder of the City’s lease under eminent domain.

    Then let’s build a new City Hall.

    Why? Because. Just because.

    Maybe just paint the place an plant palm trees?

  2. I’m not sure where the 8 mill number came from, but there might be terms in the lease where the city just takes the property over. As of right now that property is under utilized and could serve the city (and the taxpayers) better.

    In my opinion, I would rather see more development on Park avenue than on the beach. Especially property that is right next to the LIRR.

  3. I was in Waldbaums last week and some kid was riding his bike around the store. No one said anything to him. Not a small child….a teenager. That place is awful.

  4. “that property is under-utilized and could serve the city better”

    Holy crap, you just conjured up images of Kelo v. City of New London…One of the worst Supreme Court decisions in history. yikes.

  5. Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)[1] was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development.

    The Waldbaum’s shopping center is owned by the city being ground leased for private use. Completely different situation.

  6. I get that Kelo was different, but generally, compensation is necessary when the government takes something – underutilized or not. Why are we so excited by redevelopment anyway? The only major effort I can think of is Superblock and that’s not working out so well. It was a huge Kelo-style eminent domain that’s saddled the city with millions in litigation and still an empty, ugly property.

  7. While the city does “own” the property, they “own it subject to the lease” (not 100% sure of proper terms). The private company(Waldbaum’s) has the right to that property for the next ~70 years. if the city were to begin eminent domain proceedings against the lease holder they would need to split the fair value of the land and the lease.

    Anyone who is advocating using eminent domain (unless there is another avenue that we don’t know about) to take the Waldbaum’s plaza should think tonight how they would feel if the city decided to take their house and build a new city hall on that lot.

    Unfortunately the residents of Long Beach entered into this lease and now we are obligated to adhere to the terms of it or pay the cost of breaking it.

  8. Because in this case the property is owned by long beach and they are only getting 92,000 a year. That could be monthly. Trust me on that number. And I will say that number could even be more monthly, but I will be conservative and keep it at 92,000 a month.

    92,000 x 12 months = 1.1 million. Real Estate Investments are measured by how much you can make in 10 years. Even if it costs the city 8 million to take over the lease, it’s still worth it in the long run. Especially when we are talking about a lease that ends 2082.

    The City of Long Beach would be complete idiots if they don’t take over this property for redevelopment.

  9. “Anyone who is advocating using eminent domain (unless there is another avenue that we don’t know about) to take the Waldbaum’s plaza should think tonight how they would feel if the city decided to take their house and build a new city hall on that lot.”

    Just to be clear, I never once mentioned eminent domain in my post, yet for some reason I am being accused of advocating for it. I am responding to the LB Herald article:

    “The City of Long Beach, which owns the Park Avenue location, agreed to a 99-year lease with Waldbaum’s in 1983 as part of former City Manager Ed Eaton’s efforts to revitalize the city.

    The City Council has asked its bankruptcy counsel to examine the lease to determine what options, if any, are open to the city now that the supermarket is closing, City Manager Jack Schnirman said.”

  10. Unless there’s a solid clause in the lease, the calculation on value you just did would only be the beginning of their case for “taking”

    I also doubt they would throw out 70 years of cash flow too

    Would you? If you owned the lease and the government wanted to take it away?

  11. A&P is the supermarket, but they also hold the ground lease. They also aren’t going to exist pretty soon, so the city is looking into options where the lease is null.

    70 years of cash flow is wonderful, but the cost of living goes up plus inflation. You used to be able to buy a house in Merrick in the 1950s for what? $20,000? Can you imaging if you were stuck selling house for that amount of money today because you were stuck with a long term agreement?

    99 years is terrible with those terms.

  12. There were comparisons to Kelo, which was a terrible action for any gov’t to undertake and their justification was that the properties were under utilized (akin to what the city itself did back in 83)

    Jack can talk to whomever he wants (and why does the city have a bankruptcy counsel? something we don’t know about?), as long as the tenant (Waldbaum’s Stop n Shop etc) or their assignee keeps current on their terms of the lease the city most likely has little recourse. I have not read the actual lease but we can be certain their are sections in there dealing with the transfer/sale of the company to another entity, which is all that will happen in a bankruptcy.

    I am not sure where the $8M comes from. Where was that from? Is that what the city is to receive under the terms of the lease 70 years @ 92K plus increases? That is not the value of the lease, that is the cost of the lease. Think of it this way, if you owned the lease what would it take for you to walk away from the lease, definitely more than $8M.

    I would guess that Waldbaum’s actually makes money off the lease, I wonder what RiteAid pays in rent per year for their store? Add in the liquor, chase, DD, dry cleaners and Waldbaums probably gets their store rent free.

    Have any articles about the bankruptcy detailed if A&P is disposing of the real estate along with the stores or are they two separate sales?

  13. Kelo was the government deciding that they could put the land to better use, and using force to take someone’s home (they never developed the land, btw).

    This is directly analagous to what you are proposing. You are saying that the City should void the lease in order to get a better deal or to put the land to better use. Hey, maybe landlords should kick out their residential tenants every time a better offer comes around too?

    They signed a legal agreement, they have to adhere to it so long as the other side does as well. Life sucks, get a helmet.

  14. Many of you are desperate to change things in LB to paint a rosier picture; however, the city won’t grow or thrive until the serious lack of parking and awful traffic flow are solved. Pretty mock-ups and storyboards, what-if scenarios about taking back Waldbaums, grandiose plans to create a new City Hall (who cares?), and proposed bike lane fantasies are useless until we have viable parking for residents and visitors throughout the city. It’s one thing for tourists to spend a nice day here, but when they are cursing in frustration on their way home…they might not come back.

  15. Are you reading anything in writing? Legal agreement was signed, but one side is going out of business. This is not a house. This is not private land. long Beach owns the shopping center. Now is the best time to get out of it. Stop putting words in my mouth. You write the worst comments in the history of this blog. You have no idea what you are talking about

  16. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. Trump gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his office for a job. He then took $20 out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.

    Hillary was very impressed, so when they came to another homeless person, she decided to help too, and walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. She then reached into Trump ‘s pocket, got out $20. She kept $17 for her administrative fees and gave the homeless person $3.00.

  17. I very much enjoy reading this discourse.

    It’s nice to see completely different viewpoints discussed in a literate way. No, I’m not referring to the Hillary post. Thank you, Anthony. I appreciate the venue and really value your views.

    Let’s consider this. Waldbaums (A&P) has a sweetheart lease from the City for the next 70 years +/- that puts a small fortune in the tenant’s pocket each month. That lease is an asset which they own. As tenants, they have physical right to this land. That’s more rights than the owner has. The owner – City of Long Beach – entered into an agreement giving Waldbaums these rights for 99 years. They made an deal.

    Those rights have a huge value, and (from what I read of the lease) they can be transferred or sold. If the City wants to regain the beneficial interest in that property, they will have to buy it.

    As others here so rightly said, the landlord can’t just ignore a lease and kick out his tenant when the property increases in value. And if the City wanted to force the tenant out of the lease using its powers of eminent domain, it would have to pay the value of the lease, which would easily exceed that $ 8 mil number.

  18. Thanks for bringing sanity to this post. But I still say 8 million to buy out the lease is an absolute bargin and great investment for our city. You need to spend money to make money. 8 million buyout can potentially bring in 11% a year in rents directly with tenants.

    Tomorrow I will post the rent roll for King Kullen in island Park and you will agree after seeing it. LB can flip the ground lease to another operator for 92000+ a month.

    The current lease is killing us. It needs to be changed.

    Edit: I still don’t know where the 8 million number came from. I’m just using it as an example.

    Also I never brought up eminent domain. I’m talking lease buyout.

  19. Anthony, I threw that number out there by adding up the future rent on the lease. Actually, the value would be the difference between the future rent over the life of the lease and the market rent along with new construction, relocation costs and “lost business” costs.

    It would be a bundle.

    What has annoyed a few posters is the principle of government annulling a contract because it found something better. That prescient, which in some ways has been upheld in Kelo, makes any government contract or promise meaningless if abiding by it is not best for “the public good”.

    Should every option be investigated? Surely and quietly.

    Remember why the City entered into the sweetheart deal with Waldbaums. Long beach in 1981 was a hell hole, the bombed out demolished stores looked like Beirut, and it was a way to stimulate investment. Waldbaums was at the time located where Pier I is today and they threatened to leave Long Beach if they couldn’t get more space.

  20. I think they’re referring to the place where the shootings tend to take place to the point where they’re using tax money to install shot spotter or whatever its called.

  21. The last shooting was, like, in the West End and I dont recall any behind Wallbutts but there was one or two at the bus station and I think behind the police station area? I ride my bike on the street behind Wallbutts often and its all big houses with loads of kids and people on stoops, in their yards, walking dogs and saying hello. There does not seem to be a “quality” issue of the neighborhood.

    Fred I would love to hear how you define a “quality” neighborhood. Is the grass not green enough? Maybe not enough trees? Or I know- the playground back there is not sufficient, right?

  22. I believe you are mistaken. The West End Shooting was June 16 and then there was, what I believe was called, a gang related shooting that almost killed a child on June 19. I’m pretty sure.

    Not minimizing the fact that a shooting occurred, but the one in the West End was due to PTSD. The shootings that occur behind Waldbaums, have been linked to street violence.

    There was another shooting behind Waldbaums in October of last year linked to gangs. Not right behind Waldbaums, but two blocks to the left, depending on which way you are facing.

    I think FOIL’ing the gun violence would show more of it behind Waldaums then the WE.

  23. Fred, West End Tom, I have to wonder when the last time was that you were actually in the neighborhood behind and abutting Waldbaums.

    Whenever possible I try to ride my bike around town for errands rather than use the car. So going to Walgreens, Monarch or the stores across the bridge, I often ride my bike up Riverside Blvd past Waldbaums and then turn onto one of the side streets to cross Long Beach Blvd. further north rather than crossing at Park or riding up L B Blvd. Then the reverse coming back.

    While it may not be the garden spot of Long Beach riding my bike up the streets I see how well taken care of and maintained most of those homes there are. There seems like a real pride of ownership even more than some other parts of town, Even the “projects” further north are clean and well maintained.

    I agree that Waldbaums Plaza can be dirty, ugly and unsavory, but that’s not a fair representation of the neighborhood behind it or the vast majority of the people living there.

  24. Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas and Acting Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter will host a Gun Buy Back event in conjunction with the Long Beach Police Department on Saturday, August 15, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Christian Light Baptist Church, located at 620 Park Place in Long Beach.

  25. Allisonb. Considering you complain about everything. No thanks. The neighborhoods behind walbutts and the PD are low class and a dangerous place. Period.

  26. “The neighborhoods behind walbutts and the PD are low class and a dangerous place.”

    Oh, I get it now – you weren’t concerned about the living conditions / quality of life / etcetera, you just think the people that live there are of a low standard because you, obviously, are a dicknuckle.

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