Today’s news:

Marshall backs plans for Fairway in Douglaston

Borough President Helen Marshall favors the creation of a proposed high−end Manhattan grocery store at the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center and is expected to approve its construction, Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz told developers of the supermarket last week.

Fairway Market owner Howard Glickberg and the proposed supermarket’s architect appeared before Koslowitz and the Borough Board’s Land Use Committee last Thursday to request a variance that would allow for an additional 10,000 square feet. The additional space would include a glass−enclosed elevator that would take visitors to the market’s second−floor parking deck and storage space.

Marshall will decide whether to approve the project in the next few weeks, Koslowitz said. Community Board 11 recently voted unanimously in favor of the project’s expansion.

“This is a section of New York that is underutilized as far as good food stores go,” Glickberg said. “When you’d walk down Queens Boulevard years ago, you’d have your butcher, your baker and your fish market. We have all those in our store.”

Fairway is an upscale market that has chain stores on the Upper West Side, Harlem, Brooklyn and Plainview, L.I. The market features fresh produce, private label brands, cheese, meats, fish and organic and specialty food.

The market would be built on the site currently occupied by a Waldbaum’s chain store at 242−02 61st Ave. in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center.

Koslowitz said she thought Douglaston was overdue for a new supermarket and indicated that both she and Marshall favored the project.

Community leaders also said they would like to see Fairway replace Waldbaum’s at the Douglaston shopping center.

“A food store is an important component for the well−being of a community,” said Eliot Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association. “If Fairway does not get the site, I’m afraid other food stores will not either.”

A representative from Douglaston Beech Hills Apartments said the co−op also supported the construction of the market.

Waldbaum’s lease expires in 2010, CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said. The shopping center had previously applied to replace Waldbaum’s with a Best Buy electronics store, but the community had contended it would be better served by a supermarket.

Glickberg said construction could begin as early as the first quarter next year and would take five months to build. The market was founded by Glickberg’s grandfather as a fruit and vegetable store at 74th Street and Broadway in the 1930s.

The proposed store would be 51,000 square feet and its hours of operation would be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Glickberg said the market would create 300 new union jobs.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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