Neiman Marcus opens its first Long Island store at Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, the culmination of a more than 10-year effort by the luxury retailer to bring a store to the Island.
The 100,000-square-foot, two-floor store is the final piece of a $200 million expansion and renovation of the Garden City mall begun 2 1⁄2 years ago by mall owner Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The store, located at the end of a new luxury wing at the mall, will employ more than 150 people. It opens at 10 a.m.
“We have had our eye on Long Island for over a decade,” Neiman Marcus spokeswoman Ginger Reeder said. “When we saw what Simon was proposing at Roosevelt Field we knew this was our best opportunity for a store on Long Island. We carefully studied the demographics and psychographics of the area and believe it is a good fit.”
At one point, Neiman Marcus was the potential anchor tenant for a plan to build an upscale mall on the 39-acre former Cerro Wire property in Syosset, but the retailer pulled out after delays caused by community and environmental concerns. Plans for that mall were eventually scrapped by Michigan-based developer Taubman Centers, which sold the land for $230 million to rival Simon in 2014.
The property is now part of a plan by Simon, along with partners Castagna Realty Co. of Manhasset and the Albanese Organization of Garden City, to build a mixed-use development with 600 residential units and 650,000 square feet of commercial space.
Roosevelt Field’s new luxury wing housing more than 20 high-end stores opened in September. Separately, a 1,200-seat dining district in the mall’s upper level opened in January 2015.
“When we found out that Neiman Marcus was joining us . . . we thought about creating a wing that has brands that are inspirational luxury,” said Nancy Gilbert, director of marketing for the 270-store mall, which attracts shoppers from Brooklyn to Suffolk County. “It is about convenience for customers looking for true luxury.”
Neiman Marcus, which is known for its over-the-top Christmas Book gift items, is tapping into Long Island’s wealthy demographic, said Danielle Conte of Centerport, retail consultant and founder of shopping blog YoutailRetail.com. She pointed out that Nassau County, where Roosevelt Field is located, is ranked as one of the 10 richest counties in the country.
“Roosevelt Field shoppers are used to exclusivity in products and experiences,” Conte said. “Neiman Marcus is the ultimate in luxury retail. They work with designers on exclusive products. They are all about one-of-a-kind exclusives.”
But Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research company, predicted that Neiman Marcus will not get high foot traffic because of the “ultra-luxury” retailer’s location in the mall. He added that Long Island already has upscale retailers at Walt Whitman Shops and the Miracle Mile, a shopping district along Northern Boulevard in Manhasset.
“This is a great move by Simon, but the risk is bigger on Neiman,” Cohen said. “They are not going to get as [much] mall traffic,” he said, because the store is “kind of on an island by itself down there.”