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Walt Whitman Mall Expansion Plan to be Considered

Proposed 72,000 square foot expansion to be discussed by town zoning board tonight.

A proposed expansion of the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station is on the for discussion at tonight’s town Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

The proposal calls for adding 10 to 12 new tenants, with a maximum of 72,000 gross square feet of leaseable space, on the Route 110 side of the mall. Groundbreaking would take place in winter 2012, with completion planned for spring 2013.

The Walt Whitman Mall LLC is requesting modification of a special use permit along with parking and landscape variances. The new stores would have 42,000 square feet at street level, with the potential for 30,000 square feet of second-story space in three or four two-level shops or restaurants, according to a renovation fact sheet.

The Planning Board has looked at the proposal and made several technical recommendations for the Zoning Board to consider when it decides whether or not to grant the special use permit and variances. Among them, the planning department staff recommends the mall increase the size and number of landscaped medians, a “green” design feature, to avoid having a “sea of asphalt” appearance and creating a heat island. The Planning Board must still conduct a site plan review.

The additional retail space will be placed only on the west, or Route 110, side of the mall, with the mall extending out 40 feet to create an exterior strip of stores accessible from outside the mall. The additions are expected to include 10 new stores and three restaurants.

No parking garage is included in the plans. Instead, the proposal suggests creating 400 new spaces by restriping the angled spots to straight parking spots; by reducing the dimensions of the spaces; reducing the landscaped area between the parking lot and Route 110 by 20 feet; and by parking over recharge basins after drainage wells are installed.

The plans do not include a food court or a movie theater. The existing mall is 1,139.7 square feet. The New York Avenue side of the mall would get increased landscaping.

A traffic study estimates an increase of 65-85 cars per day. It says a new light will be installed and the timing of the three lights on New York Avenue along Route 110 will be modified, working with the state Department of Transportation.

The interior of the existing mall will get a minor makeover as well, with new tile, storefronts and lighting, as well as a statue of Walt Whitman. New decorative lighting will be added at the entry areas, and there will be new parking lot lighting as well.

The proposal is expected to create from 1,000 to 1,500 construction jobs during the renovation, and 250-plus permanent jobs when it is completed. The addition is projected to generate $40 million in additional sales, which creates $3.5 million in sales tax and half a million in real estate tax.

In addition to the mall proposal, the Zoning Board also will hear six other variance requests at tonight's meeting.

Jim R. July 14, 2011 at 07:10 PM
With all the unrented stores in strip malls along Rt. 110, what makes these developers think they will be able to fill the open spots w/tenants? I used to live very close to Rt. 110, near the mall and the amount of traffic during the weekends and holidays was crippling. We do not need more commercial development in this area.
CG July 14, 2011 at 07:53 PM
Let them build. Its such a small amount of stores on the side of the mall that is already commercial. No reason to stop this development. It probably won't even add traffic.
Jim R. July 14, 2011 at 08:11 PM
@Kim - seriously, what do you think they are going to say? They are going to spin it to benefit themselves.
Louise July 17, 2011 at 03:32 PM
I don't know about everyone else, but I do most of my shopping on the internet. It's no secret that retailers are suffering because it's easier for consumers to shop online - no traffic, no parking, no gas, shopping can be done in the middle of the night, etc.. I cannot understand why the TOH is doing this except for the added tax revenue. The Town is saturated with big box stores, strip malls, shopping malls, etc. No wonder the villages' mom-and-pop shops are closing. We are turning into Queens, for heaven's sake!
Gregory Holmstrom July 17, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Expanding the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington is a great idea. It would bring in more new jobs and business to the Huntington community and keep the mall more up-dated as also adding more new stores and restaurants. The Walt Whitman Mall expansion will be a great idea. As it would be continue to be a great shopping mall.
Hikerr July 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM
Duh, I thought the big push was our downtowns. Put the new stores in the New and Improved Huntington Station downtown or do we just plan on having Bodegas there.
Chris Berg November 04, 2011 at 09:15 PM
The article says it's supposed to start in the winter of 2012, but they're already doing it now in 2011. I think it's just one more thing they're jamming down our throats. I also think you'll see a jump in crime. As the town tries to revitalize the area around the train station they're just pushing the crime further south. Right toward the mall. I really don't think this is going to benefit anyone except the Simon mall and the politicians.

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