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    Pathmark Said Mulling Urban Atlantic City Supermarket

    CARTERET, N.J. -- Pathmark here is reportedly in talks with New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to open a supermarket in Renaissance Plaza, an Atlantic City Shopping center Ashkenazy owns where two previous food retailers have gone out of business.

    CARTERET, N.J. -- Pathmark here is reportedly in talks with New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. to open a supermarket in Renaissance Plaza, an Atlantic City Shopping center Ashkenazy owns where two previous food retailers have gone out of business.

    There's been no major supermarket in the city since IGA closed in April. Before that, Thriftway did poor business at the same 40,000-square-foot location. Atlantic City has arranged for buses to take local shoppers to stores in the nearby communities of Ventnor and Absecon.
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    Nancy K. Wattson, the c.f.o. of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CDRA), a state agency that uses Atlantic City casino revenue for revitalization projects told the Press of Atlantic City that Pathmark and Ashkenazy have come to a 10-year lease agreement, with three five-year renewal options. Wattson added that the store is scheduled to open within the next three months, if a final deal goes through. The CRDA helped finance construction of Renaissance Plaza, which cost $14 million and opened in 1996.

    To sweeten the deal, the CRDA's board voted earlier this week to freeze $103,000 in annual interest and principal payments on a $1.5 million loan that Ashkenazy has with the it for the shopping center. Loan payments will resume on the expiration of the lease.

    The previous supermarket operators at the shopping center had to deal with a persistent shoplifting problem. Although eager to have a supermarket again, city residents at a recent CRDA board meeting argued that Renaissance Plaza wasn't the right place for it, describing the liquor store next door as an unsuitable neighbor and noting that the area is swarming with panhandlers and loiterers.

    A representative of Atlantic City mayor Bob Levy at meeting, responded that the city would up the police presence at the center and institute other security measures to enable shoppers to feel safer.

    A call to Pathmark spokesman Harvey M. Gutman was not returned at presstime.

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