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01/10/14 1:00pm
01/10/2014 1:00 PM


Lawyers representing two new plazas on Route 58 are looking for approval to bypass the town’s signage regulations, after one of the plaza owners has already been cited for violating the town’s signage code.

At Thursday’s ZBA meeting, the owners of the new Walmart shopping center asked for variances to allow a second directory sign that is much larger than the code permits, and located on a neighboring property.

And the owners of the Saber-Riverhead shopping center, which features Dick’s Sporting Goods and other stores, asked for permission to use the stores’ actual logos on their directory sign, with the two most prominent tenants — Dick’s and Christmas Tree Shops — displayed more prominently. The Town Code requires all the lettering on the signs to be identical in color, font and size, though the current signage already features Dick’s and Christmas Tree Shops in the stores’ logos.

Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said on Friday that Saber-Riverhead had been cited recently for violating the town’s signage code, and the owners applied for the variance afterwards.

Charles Cuddy, the attorney for Saber-Riverhead, said that the stores in that shopping center are 600 feet off the road, and the corporate logos of stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Christmas Tree Shops are how people know the stores.

Mr. Cuddy said that the sign at Riverhead Centre display the logos of just Home Depot and Waldbaum in big letters, but the other stores are listed in smaller letter that is all the same size and color.

“You see nothing but just letters, and you have to go by and you have to stop your car and read it,” he told the ZBA. “We think it’s important to see the color and the logos that these companies have.”

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The new Walmart on Route 58 is scheduled to open Jan. 15 and will include an expanded line of groceries.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The new Walmart on Route 58 is scheduled to open Jan. 15 and will include an expanded line of groceries.

“The sign code requires uniformity,” said Dominique Mendez of Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. “That does make a big difference in what our town looks like. We don’t want loud colors.”

She said allowing Saber Riverhead to use logos would set a precedent, and then Route 58 would begin to look like Nassau County.

Bruno Lourenco, the director of real estate for ALDI, which opened a store on Friday in the Saber-Riverhead shopping center, said their logo is on all their stores and is recognized all over the world.

Mr. Cuddy said there is no impact on the community by allowing the corporate logos on the signs, and not doing so will not allow them to attract as much business.

ZBA member Otto Wittmeier disagreed.

“Most people that come to our town know where these businesses are,” Mr. Wittmeier added. “I don’t think anybody stops the car” to read the store signs, he added.

Larry Simms of South Jamesport said he thinks the current sign code should be enforced.

“I believe uniformity would be an improvement,” he said. “I’ve never seen a car stopping on Route 58 to locate a store.”

The ZBA plans to make a decision on that application on Jan. 23.

The owners of the new Walmart shopping center, which is being called Gateway Plaza, is seeking two directory signs, one at either end of the shopping center, and they are seeking permission to allow those signs to be bigger than permitted, and to allow one of them to be on an adjacent property owned by the same company.

Linda Margolin, the attorney for the applicant, said they would like to advertise the stores that will go in the 27,000-square foot shopping center being built just east of the Walmart store, on the sign. Those tenants have not be identified yet.

She said they want to locate the eastern directory sign on the adjacent Applebee’s property, which has similar ownership to the Walmart property, because there are utilities underground in that corner of the Walmart lot that prevent them from locating a sign there.

As for the size of the sign, the applicants are seeking a 96-square foot sign — the code allows signs to be no bigger than 60 square feet — and other variances for the directory sign. This way, they can advertise whatever tenants they lease space to in the 27,000 square foot shopping center, she said.

“Sixty square feet doesn’t take into account the number of tenants we are seeking identification for,” Ms. Margolin said.

If need be, they would agree to remove the existing free-standing signs for Applebee’s and Adchem and put those names on panels in the directory sign, Ms. Margolin said.

Lerner-Heidenberg Properties — the New Jersey company that owns both lots — is also advertising an additional 7,000 square feet of store space on the Applebees lot, according to their web site. Walmart is scheduled to open up on Jan. 15.

“You’re really pushing the limits of everything here, that’s for sure” ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin said.

Former Riverhead Councilman George Bartunek, who was instrumental in developing the sign code, urged the ZBA to make the applicant comply with the code as much as possible so as not to create a precedent.

“If you look at what happened on Route 58 because of the sign code, Route 58 could look a lot worse,” Mr. Bartunek said.

The ZBA also plans to make a decision on that application on Jan. 23.

01/08/14 11:00am
01/08/2014 11:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Aldi will open on Route 58 in Riverhead Jan. 10, the company announced in a press release.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Aldi will open on Route 58 in Riverhead Jan. 10, the company announced in a press release.

Low-price grocery retailer Aldi will open its Route 58 store on Jan. 10, a public relations spokesperson for the company said in a press release. A 9 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held outside the store, which is located in a shopping center just east of Riverhead Raceway. A grand opening event with product samples and on-site sweepstakes for the chance to win Aldi gift cards will follow.

“We are pleased to bring our first store to Riverhead to help customers get high-quality products at everyday low prices,” said Bruce Persohn, South Windsor division vice president for Aldi. “We challenge shoppers to switch from national brands to our high-quality exclusive brands and save up to 50 percent without compromising. As important as price is, the only way to attract and keep shoppers is to have quality products.”

A national retailer with nearly 1,300 stores in 32 states, Aldi sells food and general merchandise under generic brands exclusive its company, a move the retailer claims saves customers money.

When Aldi launches later this week, it will be the fourth retailer in the new shopping center to open its doors, joining Dick’s Sporting Goods, Five Below and Christmas Tree Shops. Starbucks is still under construction in the plaza.

Buffalo Wild Wings, which is located in the shopping center next to Aldi, was previously expected to open Dec. 9 but remains closed.

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12/03/13 10:10am
12/03/2013 10:10 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The back parking lot of the Christmas Tree Shops overlooks a clear view of Riverhead Raceway.

It appears the parking lot of the new Saber Riverhead shopping center — featuring Dick’s Sporting Goods and other stores — gives shoppers something extra: a free view of the high-speed action that will take place next door at Riverhead Raceway.

But not for long.

Management at the Route 58 Raceway plans to erect a new section of billboards to block the view of the southern portion of the track, which can be seen from the adjacent parking lot.

“It’s not going to be an open area,” said Joseph Arian, a marketing manager for the racetrack.

He said the raceway hopes to have the new billboards in place by April, when the 2014 racing season starts.

The idea is to offset the cost of the billboards through the advertisements carried on them, Mr. Arian said.

“We’re hoping the local businesses will want to be involved, especially because of all the new shopping in the area,” he said.

The 122,000-square-foot Saber Riverhead complex, where Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops and Five Below have already opened, is one of three new large shopping centers in the vicinity.

The 271,000-square-foot Shops at Riverhead center, which will have a Costco Warehouse as its anchor, is being constructed across the street from the raceway and a new 170,000-square-foot super Walmart store is being built just west of that.

It’s possible that some shoppers in the new stores, which include a Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar and grill, will be inspired to visit the racetrack as well, Mr. Arian said, since it will be just a short walk away.

11/27/13 4:19pm
11/27/2013 4:19 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Buffalo Wild Wings is scheduled to open in Riverhead Dec. 9.

COURTESY PHOTO | Buffalo Wild Wings is scheduled to open in Riverhead Dec. 9.

Work up your appetite, wings fans: the general manager of the new Buffalo Wild Wings on Route 58 in Riverhead said the casual restaurant is slated to open Dec. 9.

“We’re very excited for the opening,” said Andrew Schuett, the general manager of the 6,000-square-foot Riverhead location, which is housed in the easternmost side of the new shopping complex located just east of Riverhead Raceway. “We’re going to bring a little bit of Buffalo Wild Wings to the East End.”

As part of its grand opening, Mr. Schuett said, the restaurant’s first 100 patrons will receive a voucher book entitling them to six free chicken wings a week for a year.

The plaza where Buffalo Wild Wings is located is also home to a recently-opened Dick’s Sporting Goods, Five Below and Christmas Tree Shops. Starbucks, Aldi and The Vitamin Shoppe — all located in the same shopping center — are scheduled to open in the next few months.

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11/15/13 10:00am
11/15/2013 10:00 AM
IKE ISRAEL COURTESY PHOTO | An artist's rendering of the Northville Commerce Park.

IKE ISRAEL COURTESY PHOTO | An artist’s rendering of the Northville Commerce Park.

While three major construction projects on Route 58 within a quarter-mile have hummed along over the past couple of months, farther east up the road, progress at the Northville Commerce Park is moving along as well.

And new tenants are expected by the spring.

Sited at the corner of Northville Turnpike and Route 58, businesses at the planned 28,000-square-foot office complex are expected to start moving in come May, said Richmond Realty realtor Ike Israel, the property’s co-developer.

Work on the complex, which Mr. Israel said will ultimately contain four 7,200-square-foot buildings, began earlier this year.

The structural steel for one building has been erected and the foundation for another building is in the ground, Mr. Israel said. The exterior shell of a third building has also been constructed.

The building’s uses are still being determined, Mr. Israel said, but they will likely house medical and professional offices.

“We are negotiating with various types of tenants,” he said, adding that there are still some available spaces in the complex.

Mr. Israel’s vision for the complex, he said, is “Office space that has high exposure and is convenient to the hospital and the rest of Riverhead.”

Mr. Israel, who is developing the industrial park with his father – Richmond Realty broker and owner Richard Israel – said he hopes the complex will be completely finished by fall 2014.

“Our speed of construction is weather-dependent,” Ike Israel said.

Work on the project first began in 2010, when Riverhead-based Richmond Realty entered into a contract for the property. They began submitting site plans for approval in 2011.

Northville Commerce Park is one of several active commercial construction sites on Route 58. A Walmart Supercenter, located across the street from Tanger Outlets, is expected to open early next year, and a Costco is being constructed further east, across the street from the Riverhead Raceway.

Just east of the Riverhead Raceway sits another recently-completed shopping center, which contains a just-opened Dick’s Sporting Goods and Five Below. Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings and Christmas Tree Shops — all located in the plaza — are slated to open in the next few months.

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10/30/13 1:00pm
10/30/2013 1:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Five Below will open in Riverhead Friday.

Five Below, a national retailer that sells products aimed at pre-teens and teenagers for $5 and less, will open its doors on Route 58 in the shopping center next to Riverhead Raceway on Nov. 1.

As part of its grand opening celebration, Five Below will be giving away Five Below T-shirts, five-cent hot dogs and prizes, including one $100 Five Below shopping spree, said Abby Bedecs, a public relations spokesperson for the Philadelphia-based company.

Five Below, which Ms. Bedecs said sells items like smartphone accessories, arts and crafts and fitness equipment, is the second shop in the Saber Riverhead shopping center to open in the last two weeks. Dick’s Sporting Goods opened for business Oct. 25, making it the first retailer in the plaza to open.

The shopping center, which has been the subject of years-long litigation, gained its approvals from the Riverhead Town Planning Board just under a year ago. Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings and Christmas Tree Shops — all located in the plaza — are slated to open in the next few months.

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10/18/13 4:06pm
10/18/2013 4:06 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Dick's Sporting Goods will hold its grand opening form Oct. 25 through Oct. 27.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Dick’s Sporting Goods will hold its grand opening form Oct. 25 through Oct. 27.

Dick’s Sporting Goods will be opening its doors next week on Route 58 next to Riverhead Raceway, with a special appearance by New York Mets Hall of Famer John Franco.

The nationwide sporting goods retailer, set to share a plaza with Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Christmas Tree Shops, will be celebrating a weekend-long grand opening, from Oct. 25 through Oct. 27, to mark the first store in the Route 58 shopping center to open its doors.

Franco, who ranks fourth in Major League Baseball History with 424 saves, will make an in-store appearance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, signing autographs to the first 350 fans to show up at the store, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Dick’s will soon be followed by 5 Below, a retailer that only offers products for $5 or under. The store has said its grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 1.

One shop that won’t be opening anytime soon, however, is Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which will apparently be replaced by The Vitamin Shoppe.

The plaza – the subject of years-long litigation – gained its approvals from the Riverhead Town Planning Board just under a year ago.

10/05/12 10:00am
10/05/2012 10:00 AM
Dick's, Route 58, Riverhead

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The Dick’s Sporting Good store in Lake Grove.

At the insistence of residents at the adjacent Glenwood Village senior citizen community, the developers of a proposed  122,000-square-foot shopping center on the south side of Route 58 have agreed to build a sound wall to block noise from disturbing residents.

Meanwhile, on the north side of Route 58, the Planning Board on Thursday voted to approve the site plan for The Shops at Riverhead, a proposed 271,000-square-foot shopping center on the former Hazeltine property just east of Riverhead Auto Mall that will include a Costco as its anchor tenant, along with a gas fueling station affiliated with the Costco.

The applicant on the south side of Route 58, Saber Riverhead LLC of Armonk, is planning to build on 13 acres just east of Riverhead Raceway.

Proposed tenants for the shopping center include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops store, an ALDI discount supermarket, Five Below store, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, and Starbucks, according to Rick Decola, a representative for the applicant.

At a Planning Board work session two weeks ago, residents of Glenwood Village, which is immediately south of the proposed shopping center, expressed concerns about noise, saying they felt the applicant’s proposed landscaped berm wouldn’t be enough.

They said they already put up with noise from loading docks at the the Stop and Shop supermarket that was built a few years ago.

On Thursday, Glenwood Village manager Brian Stark addressed the Planning Board, and about six Glenwood residents were in attendance.

Mr. Stark said he was just looking after his residents.

“Remember, at the end of the day, you don’t live there, I don’t live there, but somebody’s grandmother lives there,” Mr. Stark told the applicant.

“There’s 600 homes there, we’re all in the final stages of our lives, we just want to be peaceful,” said Glenwood resident Chris Zimmermann. “We’re looking for quiet.”

Mr. Zimmermann said the trees that buffer Glenwood from Riverhead Raceway do little to block the noise.

“We’re trying to accommodate every little thing,” Mr. Decola said.

At the start of the discussion, Mr. Stark had suggested moving some of the buildings proposed in the shopping center, which Mr. Decola said would be a major undertaking. Saber Riverhead had met with Mr. Stark earlier in the week and proposed to move the loading dock from the area of the planned Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, which is close to homes.

The Planning Board and the Glenwood residents urged the applicant to instead put up a sound wall, which they eventually agreed with.

The wall would cover a 200 foot stretch on the east part of Saber’s property, where there are about four homes.

It would made of wood, like the ones on the Long Island Expressway, but nicer looking, and would be about 10 to 12 feet high, according to Charles Cuddy, the attorney for the applicant.

The Planning Board took no formal action to approve or deny the application at Thursday’s meeting.

The Saber Riverhead shopping center would be directly across the street from The Shops at Riverhead and their entrances would share a traffic signal, which would still have to be built.

The only comment on The Shops of Riverhead proposal came from Robert Hall, who lives in the Foxwood Village senior community to the north of the proposed shopping center.

He said there are a lot of deer and other animals in the woods that are slated to be cleared for the shopping center, and suggested the developer first construct a fence along Foxwood’s property before beginning clearing of the woods so the animals don’t all come on Foxwood’s property.

The Planning Board and the applicant agreed with that suggestion.

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NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Christmas Tree Shops is also part of the plan for this Route 58 land.