On the Upper East Side, where basic supermarkets are scarce, two Food Emporiums that had been slated to shutter to accommodate station entrances and escalators on the Second Avenue subway line are off the chopping block.
Because of the high cost of acquiring the grocer's retail space, as well as vocal community opposition to the plans, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled a redesigned station entrance so that it does not have to acquire any space along Second Avenue between 85th and 86th Streets that has been occupied by Food Emporium for almost a decade.
"It was the source of tremendous relief for our neighborhood," the chairman of Community Board 8, David Liston, said. "There's no shortage here of high-end stores, but in terms of your basic supermarket with relatively affordable prices, we have very few."
The redesigned station entrance , unveiled to a crowd of relieved Upper East Side residents a few weeks ago, would stand in front of the store instead of replacing it.
The new station entrance includes two glass-paneled doors that would open onto a widened sidewalk in front of the store to accommodate foot traffic, officials said.
Another Food Emporium at 63rd Street and Third Avenue, which was to be converted into an escalator and ventilation facility for the subway line, has also been repositioned, a move that saves the supermarket as well as significant dollars for the MTA, a spokesman, Jeremy Soffin, said.
The real estate costs for the first segment of the subway line, which would stretch to 96th Street from 63rd Street and is slated for completion in 2013, have been reported to cost $245 million. Mr. Soffin said any redesign costs for the station entrance were negligible, and that there were significant savings associated with allowing the supermarkets to keep their retail space and avoid the process of procuring easements to kick them out.