breaking: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: OKC mayor extends emergency through April 30developing: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Stitt declares health emergency, calls legislative special sessionLive updates: Oklahoma coronavirus cases now 879; 34 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Demolition permits issued for closed eastside OKC grocery

Related coverage

Homeland plans new store in northeast OKC Owners of eastside grocery blame closing on building's condition Northeast OKC to lose only full grocery

The former Buy for Less shopping center at NE 23 and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue appears to be targeted for demolition, with permits filed at City Hall for the closed grocery 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, 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 36 and Kelley Avenue.

The demolition permits for the former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, were approved on Monday.

Susan Binkowski could not be reached for comment. The company’s Facebook page indicates that as of December they were proceeding with plans for a store at NE 36 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,” 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. 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.”

Related Photos
<strong>The former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, shown in this August photo taken shortly before the store's closing, is set to be torn down along with the adjoining shopping center. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]</strong>

The former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, shown in this August photo taken shortly before the store's closing, is set to be torn down along with the adjoining shopping center. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-15a9cf367d6d1e88c38383e88b89d2c5.jpg" alt="Photo - The former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, shown in this August photo taken shortly before the store's closing, is set to be torn down along with the adjoining shopping center. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" The former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, shown in this August photo taken shortly before the store's closing, is set to be torn down along with the adjoining shopping center. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> The former Buy for Less, renamed Smart Saver in 2016, shown in this August photo taken shortly before the store's closing, is set to be torn down along with the adjoining shopping center. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

Comments