Strip mall businesses want to know when to move

This is an exterior view of the small This is an exterior view of the small strip mall at the intersection of Meacham Ave. and Hempstead Turnpike. (Feb. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

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More than a year after the Hempstead Town appeals board approved a proposal to build a Walgreens in Elmont, several small-business owners who will be displaced are uncertain when they will have to vacate their strip mall.

The appeals board approved the proposal in February 2012, despite concerns about the displacement of a convenience store, spa, nail salon, hair salon, restaurant and gold seller in the 36-year-old shopping center. The strip mall on the southwest corner of Meacham Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike will be demolished.

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Walgreens representatives have said they plan to lease the property for at least 20 years from Carle Place-based owner Clover Associates LLC and build a 13,824-square-foot store with a drive-through pharmacy. The store is scheduled to open by the end of 2014 or early 2015, Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said.

Property manager Jimmy Dalto did not return calls or emails seeking comment.

"It is his wish that everybody moves out and that the place is vacant," said Faheem Khan, 47, who has owned the convenience store, Top Food Mart, for 15 years. "He [Dalto] just needs to tell us by when we need to move out so that Walgreens can come in."

Khan said he has five years left on his lease, which will mean he'll forfeit his security deposit and one month rent to leave earlier. Due to the uncertainty, Kahn has rented a smaller grocery store a block away that he plans to renovate, he said.

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Other business owners, such as Matthew Moschitta, who manages a Nationwide Insurance office, moved last June to a store across the street. "We never got any correspondence, so we had to move," Moschitta said. "Why would you stay? I have a business to run."

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