Grocery Site Is Set to Be Razed

Beautification Plans Made For Area

The Buy for Less supermarket at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Avenue was renamed Smart Saver in 2016.  Owners have applied for demolition permits for the site.

The longtime grocery store site that previously housed a Buy for Less supermarket before the store was suddenly closed has now been scheduled to be razed, The Black Chronicle has learned.

Before the Buy for Less-owned store was closed last year, the site at NE 23rd Street at Martin Luther King Avenue had housed Humpty Dumpty and Hometown stores.

After purchasing the site, operated a store with the name, Buyfor Less, but the owners changed the store’s name to Smart saver before the store was closed.

The company recently filed for demolition permits at City Hall to raze the grocery store site and adjacent stores.

Susan Binkowski, owner of Esperanza Real Estate, the development arm of Uptown Grocery and other stores in the chain run by her husband, Hank Binkowski, originally proposed building an all new Uptown Grocery and shopping center at the corner.

That announcement, made six years ago, stalled as the Binkowskis and city officials hit an impasse on additional public assistance for the project. 

The grocery was closed in August, and after protests by community leaders, the Binkowskis indicated they would reopen their store in the former Sav-A-Lot at NE 36th Street and N. Kelley Avenue.

The demolition permits for the former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, were approved early last week.

 The company’s Facebook page indicates that as of December, the company was proceeding with plans for a store at NE 36th and Kelley.

Mayor David Holt said the MAPS 4 ballot sales tax approved by voters in December envisions using up to $5 million from the beautification funding to buy and clear the Binkowskis’ corner as part of an effort to revive the main corridor for the city’s Black population.

“It’s such a prominent corner of that part of the city,” Mayor Holt said.  “There will be the Clara Luper Center across the street, funding for sidewalks and place-making.”

“You also will have a Ralph Ellison statue, presumably, at the library at the corner and now funding for the northeast corner,” the mayor continued,   

“There are a lot of pieces that are intended to remake the area which has always been thought of as the heart of the community, but has not always reflected that.”

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