Today’s news:

H Mart delays Bayside store’s grand opening

The storefront along Francis Lewis Boulevard sits vacant in anticipation of its new tenant, H Mart, to open its doors.
TimesLedger Newspapers

The opening of a new Korean supermarket in Bayside may be later than anticipated, the chain said.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for H Mart told TimesLedger Newspapers that its new location near the intersection of 47th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard would be opening its doors by July. But with the summer quickly approaching and the exterior of the building looking far from complete, the chain said it was not sure if it would meet its target date.

“We have no exact date set for a grand opening,” a spokesman said this week. “I can’t make sure.”

The site has been vacant over the past 12 months but has been buzzing with construction recently in anticipation of H Mart’s arrival. The exterior of the building has been sporting H Mart signs for months advertising the store’s pending grand opening, but those were recently taken down to reveal windows covered with plywood and a new construction fence.

Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the board has not heard anything to suggest H Mart would be opening later than expected or anything at all since the July date was originally floated.

The Korean supermarket chain signed on to take over the former Waldbaum’s spot last year after it closed down, costing 77 workers their jobs. H Mart, an American-based chain, is owned by the Hanahreum Group, of Lyndhurst, N.J., and has stores throughout the country.

Community leaders at the time of Waldbaum’s closing said they anticipated a new supermarket would open its doors on Francis Lewis Boulevard as early as September 2012, but H Mart said that date would have been impossible to meet as it was only securing building permits and construction plans by that point.

Last year, CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said he expected the turnaround at the location to be fairly quick, so the area residents’ shopping habits would not be too severely affected. But the chairman’s original hopes that Bayside would not be subject to an empty storefront became a reality over the past 12 months since H Mart has yet to open its doors.

Iannece said the community had mixed views about the incoming supermarket chain, but Seinfeld said it would still be a good fit for the northeast Queens community.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., the New Jersey-based owner of Waldbaum’s, has a history of financial woes in recent years and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors in 2010. A company spokeswoman said earlier this year it had also closed one of its Pathmark grocery stores on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City in August.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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