What’s the plan for Sports Authority site, other Rt 58 vacancies?

The former Sports Authority building on Route 58 doesn’t have any tenants lined up yet, but the owner of the property has submitted a site plan application to divide the 45,000-square-foot building into three separate spaces, according to Jeff Murphree, Riverhead Town’s planning and building administrator.

Sports Authority opened the Riverhead location in 2006 in space just west of the Target store. Both were built by the Serota Properties of Valley Stream.

Sports Authority at one point was the largest sports retailer in the country, but the company declared bankruptcy in 2016 and closed all of its stores as part of a liquidation plan.

The Riverhead store has sat vacant since then.

The site plan application to divide the store in three parts also asks for a sign calling the building “Riverhead Commons,” which is also the name of a development by Richmond Realty at the former Rolle Brothers site farther east on Route 58. Serota Properties used the Riverhead Commons name for its site plan application for the Riverhead Target store in 2002.

The Sports Authority building is one of several large vacant buildings on Route 58.

• The former Waldbaums and Joe’s Crab Shack locations in Riverhead Centre both appear to have new occupants, as ShopRite plans to open a supermarket at the Waldbaums site and International House of Pancakes plans to open in the Joe’s Crab Shack location, which was occupied by Boulder Creek Steakhouse prior to that.

While both ShopRite and IHOP have confirmed their plans to move in those location, Riverhead’s Chief Building Inspector Brad Hammond said that neither has submitted an application yet.

• The former Walmart site on Route 58, which has housed Caldor, Woolco and Grants in prior years, is vacant, although the property owner, Philips International, is still seeking to open a multiplex movie theater at the site.

Mr. Murphree said he was told that Philips International is still negotiating with Regal Cinemas, the largest movie theater chain in the country, about locating in the former Walmart site.

While efforts are ongoing to fill some of the vacancies on Route 58, new vacancies are likely to appear.

Toys R Us, which was once the nation’s largest toy retailing chain, is in bankruptcy and has announced plans to close 182 stores. The store on Route 58 was not included in the closure list.

However, more recent reports indicate that Toys R Us may soon announce plans to close all of its stores and go out of business.

CORRECTION: The property owner where a multiplex is proposed does not have town approvals already.

[email protected]

Photo: The owners of the former Sports Authority site on Rt 58 want to divide it in three. (Credit: Tim Gannon)