Smith Haven Mall renovations unveiled
November 21, 2005 | 03:00 AM
The Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove is about to get a major facelift.
The Simon Property Group, Inc., which owns the center, has announced plans for a major redevelopment project that will commence in January 2006 and will replace the empty Stern's department store building. The $75-million project will include the building of a Lifestyle Center, or open-air shopping center, renovation of the existing interior shopping area and exterior renovations.
Simon spokesman Kevin Ryan of Ryan & Ryan Public Relations in Farmingdale said the company received the go-ahead just last week from the Smithtown Town Board, which approved the site plan for the 185,000 square-foot lifestyle center project.
"The former 240,000 square-foot Stern's department store is in the process of being demolished," Ryan said. "Once the building's removal has been completed, construction of the new lifestyle center will begin."
Ryan explained that many of the nation's malls are now incorporating "lifestyle centers," open-air shopping areas that are attached to existing malls. This concept allows for the patron to shop in the interior stores or, alternatively, to enjoy a fresh-air environment with easy access to the mall's interior stores. The Simon Group has negotiated contracts so far with Dick's Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble, Macy's Furniture Gallery and the Cheesecake Factory and is in negotiations with approximately 20 other vendors who will join the existing 130 tenants.
"The lifestyle center will create an attractive open-air environment that shoppers will thoroughly enjoy," Senior Vice-President of Development Robert Spaulding said in a press release last week. "Shoppers will also like the pedestrian plaza-type effect the lifestyle center will bring while still offering them quick access to the rest of the mall as well."
Meanwhile, construction on the interior area of the Smith Haven Mall will begin after the holidays. The renovation plan includes replacement of the existing ceilings, floors and lighting. Additional seating areas will be placed throughout, and the Simon Group has also decided on a new color scheme. Public restrooms will be added, as well as new exterior sidewalks, parking lot paving and exterior landscaping.
"Overall, the additions and improvements being made to Smith Haven Mall will greatly enhance the shopping experience for all of the area's shoppers," Spaulding said.
Smithtown Town Councilman Ed Wehrheim said he supports the project. "It's long overdue," Wehrheim said in a telephone interview on Monday. The mall was deteriorating. This project will add tax revenue to the town of Smithtown and will dress up the area. Stores like Barnes & Noble and the Cheesecake Factory bring in business and create interest in the existing mall. We want to continue to keep shoppers in this area."
Ryan said the Simon Group has already been making improvements to the existing mall, which has not had any major renovations since the 1970s. The Sterns department store has been empty for the past five years. Over the past several years, the company has been trying to attract more upscale tenants. The Simon Group's plan is the first major structural change to the shopping center since it expanded to include a Macy's and a food court in 1987.
The Smith Haven Mall is located at Routes 347 and 25 in Lake Grove. It is anchored by Sears, J.C. Penny and Macy's and is home to 130 specialty stores.