11/20/14 5:34pm
11/20/2014 5:34 PM
Peconic Bay Medical Center is seeking to build a 3,500 sf medical site in this corner of Gateway Plaza, where Bob's Discount Furniture is located.

Peconic Bay Medical Center is seeking to build a 3,500 sf medical site in this corner of Gateway Plaza, where Bob’s Discount Furniture is located. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

PBMC Health is proposing a new medical building in a portion of the parking lot of the Wal-Mart and Bob’s Discount Furniture store on Route 58.

(more…)

04/26/14 10:00am
04/26/2014 10:00 AM
Bob's Discount Furniture and Pet Valu will be moving in next to Walmart. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bob’s Discount Furniture and Pet Valu will be moving in next to Walmart. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The building next to Walmart is soon expected to be filled by a furniture and pet store, which should be starting to open by Memorial Day.

The tenants, identified at Thursday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, “at this point are Bob’s Furniture store and a chain called Pet Valu,” said attorney Linda Margolin, who was representing the property owner of the Walmart site at a hearing seeking a sign variance for the property. 

Bob’s Discount Furniture has 52 locations in 11 states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including four stores in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the nearest being in Nesconset.

The company is headquartered in Manchester, Conn. and was founded in 1991. In addition to furniture, the stores also feature a “complimentary cafe with gourmet coffee, ice cream, fresh baked cookies and candy,” according to the company web site.

Pet Valu is a Canadian-based pet food and supply chain that has more than 500 locations in Canada and the northeast United States, with the nearest one being in Hauppauge.

Jeffrey Locklear, building supervisor with Kane Builders, said on site Friday that he expected work to be done by Memorial Day weekend. He said Bob’s would like to be open by Memorial Day, with Pet Valu opening up soon after.

The ZBA on Thursday approved the sign variance, in which the owners of the Walmart shopping center — which is being called Garteway Plaza — sought permission for a second directory sign which would be located on the Applebee’s property just east of Gateway Plaza.  It would be identical to the one at the west end of the property.

Both the Walmart site and the Applebee’s site have affiliated ownership, and they are asking that the second directory sign be on the Applebee’s property by the eastern entrance to the shopping center, aligned with Kroemer Avenue, because the electronics for the traffic control lights are buried on the northwest corner of this intersection, which is on the Gateway Plaza land, according to Ms. Margolin.

The 27,000 square foot shopping center on the eastern portion of Gateway Plaza is under construction and doesn’t have any tenants now.

Town officials say they haven’t yet received any applications for Bob’s Discount Furniture or Pet Valu.

In addition to the Gateway Plaza and Applebee’s, the site plan approval for Applebee’s from more than 14 years ago also allows the developers to build another retail store on a vacant 7,200 square pad in the eastern portion of the Applebee’s parking lot.

04/03/14 11:55am
04/03/2014 11:55 AM
POLICE COURTESY PHOTO |

POLICE COURTESY PHOTO |

Riverhead police have reported the arrest of a South Jamesport man accused of being a serial shoplifter three months after releasing Walmart surveillance images and asking for the public’s help in finding him.

Investigators said they received several phone calls identifying the man as 32-year-old Joshua Georges.

Mr. Georges was arrested and charged with three counts of petit larceny in relation to three separate incidents at the older Walmart store on Route 58, police said. He was released without bail.

Mr. Georges is accused of stealing “assorted electronics” from Walmart.

In January, investigators said that between Oct. 23 and Nov. 15, the suspect entered the store and broke into an electronics cabinet. In one instance, he was seen leaving the scene in a light blue 1994 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

01/15/14 11:00am
01/15/2014 11:00 AM
RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | The new Walmart on Route 58 features a fresh produce section.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | The new Walmart on Route 58 features a fresh produce section.

After years of development, the new Walmart on the western end of Route 58 in Riverhead celebrated its grand opening Wednesday morning.

The new store, which features a Subway restaurant and an expanded line of groceries, is more than 30,000 square feet larger than the former Walmart located further east, also on Route 58. The former Walmart is now officially closed.

“We’re happy that Walmart is investing in the town of Riverhead, and it’s a beautiful brand new building,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “Riverhead is a shopping district, pulling from Montauk to Orient Point to Brookhaven. Thousands of people will visit this Walmart and have the opportunity to see what Riverhead is all about.”

As part of its launch, Walmart presented $11,500 in grants to local non-profits, including Southold Troop 6, Parents’ Association of Riley Avenue and Suffolk County Sheriff’s office among others.

Walmart store manager Craig Winkler gives a speech at the new store Tuesday evening.

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO  |  Walmart store manager Craig Winkler gives a speech at the new store Tuesday evening.

Though originally planned to be a Walmart Supercenter, a Walmart spokeswoman confirmed last week the new location is a regular discount store. Supercenters typically include full-service grocery stores with delis, bakeries and sometimes hair salons.

Plans for the relocated Walmart stem from 2007, the year Riverhead Town approved initial building plans. That approval was challenged in court in two separate lawsuits, both of which were dismissed in May 2009.

Walmart will continue its grand opening celebrations in Riverhead this Saturday with its “Big Family Welcome” from noon to 3 p.m. During the event, customers will have the chance to meet store manager Craig Winkler and participate in activities like face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples.

ryoung@timesreview.com

01/10/14 1:00pm
01/10/2014 1:00 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO

TIM GANNON PHOTO

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 7:00am
01/08/2014 7:00 AM
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. The owners are seeking approval to install a directory sign on the adjacent lot where Applebess is located.

The owners of the new Walmart store on the west end of Route 58 are seeking variances from the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals to allow an off-premise directory sign on the adjacent Applebees lot to advertise and identify the new shopping center and the stores located there.

They are also seeking ZBA variance to allow that sign to be larger than what the Town Code permits.

The ZBA has scheduled a hearing on the proposal for its Jan. 9 meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

The new Walmart shopping center, which is being called Gateway Plaza, includes the Walmart store and several smaller stores under construction on the eastern portion of the 21-acre property.

The proposed directory sign would be located on the Applebees’ lot, according to to the application. The sign would be 96 square feet, 36 square feet more than is currently allowed. It would feature 8-foot panel signs when the limit is currently 4 feet. The sign would be 15 feet tall, nearly three times the current limit of 6 feet. The sign would also have more than the maximum of three businesses displayed on it, would be less than 100 feet from another sign and would be internally lit.

The shopping center is just west of the Applebees restaurant property, which has similar ownership.

The Walmart lot is owned by Headriver LLC and the Applebees’ lot is owned by OC Riverhead 58 LLC, according to town records, but both have the same address in Closter, N.J. That address is also the address of Lerner-Heidenberg Properties, which is advertising space for lease at both the Walmart and Applebees sites on its website.

The new Walmart store is scheduled to open on Jan. 15, and will eventually replace the existing Walmart further east on Route 58.

tgannon@timesreview.com

01/06/14 1:30pm
01/06/2014 1:30 PM
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.

After years of development, the new Walmart on the western end of Route 58 in Riverhead is slated to open Jan. 15, the company announced Monday morning.

The new store, which will include an expanded line of groceries, is more than 30,000 square feet larger than the existing Walmart located further east, also on Route 58.

“I’m proud to be a part of a team that is strengthening our local economy by bringing more jobs with great career opportunities to the area,” store manager Craig Winkler said in the press release. “I am looking forward to showing area residents our new store and all it has to offer – including convenience and savings for their everyday shopping needs.”

Though originally planned to be a Walmart Supercenter, a Walmart spokeswoman said Monday that the new location will be a regular discount store. Supercenters typically include full-service grocery stores with delis, bakeries and sometimes hair salons.

Plans for the relocated Walmart stem from 2007, the year Riverhead Town approved initial building plans. That approval was challenged in court in two separate lawsuits, both of which were dismissed in May 2009.

ryoung@timesreview.com