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Retail Roundup: Aldi, Planet Fitness may replace former Pathmark in North Babylon

North Babylon Plaza at 1251 Deer Park Ave.

North Babylon Plaza at 1251 Deer Park Ave. is pictured on Wednesday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Fast-growing discount grocer Aldi is likely to replace a Pathmark in North Babylon that has been vacant since it — and 50 other supermarkets on Long Island — closed in 2015.

Aldi, Planet Fitness and a self-storage facility are among the proposed tenants in the planned redevelopment of North Babylon Plaza, which used to hold a 53,701-square-foot Pathmark and other businesses at 1251 Deer Park Ave., according to construction documents and an attorney representing the property owner.

The shopping center is owned by North Babylon Associates, an affiliate of Woodmere-based real estate developer Basser-Kaufman.

“We’re just working our way through the process, and we’re hoping to go through the process as quickly as possible, so we can start construction,” said North Babylon Associates’ attorney, Anthony S. Guardino, a partner in Uniondale-based law firm Farrell Fritz P.C.

North Babylon Associates has submitted plans to the Town of Babylon to demolish the vacant 102,000-square-foot building, which was constructed in the 1960s, and replace it with two new buildings.

One of the new structures would be a 49,734-square-foot, one-story retail building with three tenants, according to the plans. The other would be a two-story self-storage building  of 49,940 square feet. 

An existing McDonald’s restaurant on the property would remain.

Aldi and Planet Fitness are likely to be anchors in the proposed retail building, and both have expressed interest in opening locations in the shopping center, Guardino told the Babylon Planning Board in October.

Johnson Development Associates Inc., of Spartanburg, South Carolina, would own the self-storage building, which would be operated as Extra Space Storage, he told the board.

None of the tenants has been finalized, Guardino said last week.

Aldi U.S., which is the Illinois-based arm of a German retailer, and New Hampshire-based Planet Fitness Inc. said they had no news to share about plans to open locations in North Babylon Plaza.

Salt Lake City-based Extra Space Storage Inc., Johnson Development Associates and Basser-Kaufman did not respond to requests for comment.

But an architectural rendering submitted to the town in the construction plans shows Aldi and Planet Fitness as tenants in the redevelopment.

Also, Basser-Kaufman’s website says the redevelopment will include a “brand-new beautiful Aldi and Planet Fitness” and that the two “proposed” tenants will take 20,305 square feet and 20,000 square feet, respectively.

The website rendering also shows a self-storage facility, but it is listed under the name CubeSmart, a self-storage chain based in Pennsylvania.

North Babylon Associates wants to subdivide the 8-acre shopping center property into two lots, Babylon Town spokesman Kevin Bonner said.

On Feb. 13 the town board approved the property owner’s request to rezone the lot where the self-storage facility would be from business to industrial, which would allow a self-storage facility to be built there, he said.

There has been pushback from some residents, some of whom have spoken at town meetings, who object to a storage facility being built on a site that is near homes.

The planning board’s votes on the site plan and subdivision request could take place March 18, Bonner said.

The Pathmark was one of 51 Long Island grocery stores, some of which were Waldbaum’s, that closed after their parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. in New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015.

Aldi, which opened its first Long Island store in 2011 in Bay Shore, now has six locations on the Island.

 The chain has more than 1,800 U.S. stores and is the value leader in the nation, said Jon Hauptman, senior director of Inmar Analytics, a North Carolina grocery-industry analytics firm. “And their … expansion across the country has shaken up the retail food industry and has forced traditional supermarket operators to look at value options of their own,” he said.

Aldi operates limited-assortment grocery stores, which typically have fewer than 2,000 packaged goods and perishables per location and sell a high percentage of private-label products, Hauptman said.

Limited-assortment grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s and Save-A-Lot, are usually about 15,000 square feet, while traditional supermarkets typically range from 35,000 to 60,000 square feet.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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