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Retail Roundup: Old Waldbaum's, other vacant stores getting new uses 

Among the six new tenants coming to centers in Lindenhurst and East Setauket are a gym, a PSEG Long Island customer service center and a hearing aid store.

A PSEG Long Island customer service center, a

A PSEG Long Island customer service center, a physical therapist office and a dental center will be opening at Sunrise Plaza in Lindenhurst, seen here on Thursday. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The six new tenants headed to shopping centers in East Setauket and Lindenhurst will sell nary a blouse, boot or blanket.

Most of them are part of the growing trend of tenants that provide services or experiences — not clothing or household goods — filling vacated store spaces as brick-and-mortar retailers reduce their footprints. 

“The reality is, it’s what the tenants and the market are seeking. The tenants that are looking for space — that just seems to be what the trend is at the moment,” said Jeffrey Reiss, president of Sunrise Plaza Associates LP, the Great Neck-based owner of Sunrise Plaza in Lindenhurst.

First up in this week’s roundup is the former Waldbaum’s grocery store in East Setauket. Part of that space will be converted to a gym, 24 Hour Fitness, late this year, said Ray Dewhirst, senior director of real estate for the gym chain’s Northeast region.

The gym will occupy 37,250 square feet, or 66 percent, of the former Waldbaum’s space at 4054 Nesconset Hwy. in Suffolk Plaza, said Kristen Moore, spokeswoman for Brixmor Property Group, the Manhattan-based owner of the section of the shopping center that includes the former grocery store. No tenant has been lined up yet for the remaining 19,509 square feet of the space, she said.

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

Headquartered in California, 24 Hour Fitness has more than 430 gyms nationwide, including three on Long Island. A Massapequa location opened in December.

Service, health and connections

Over in Lindenhurst, three non-store tenants — PSEG Long Island customer service center, Long Island Premier Physical & Aquatic Therapy, and Great Expressions Dental Center — will open over the next few months in Sunrise Plaza. The customer service center and therapy office will be relocating from other shopping centers.

Two businesses, however, are slated to add stores to the fray at Sunrise Plaza: Miracle-Ear and Verizon Wireless.

Here’s the rundown on some of the tenants planned for Sunrise Plaza:

  • PSEG Long Island is relocating its customer service center on Park Avenue in Lindenhurst 2.6 miles away to 42 E. Sunrise Hwy. in Sunrise Plaza because it needs more space, said Jeremy Walsh, spokesman for the utility. The center is expected to open in two or three months in a 2,455-square-foot unit, taking part of a space that has been vacant since Hollywood Video closed about a decade ago, Reiss said. Long Island has 10 PSEG customer service centers where customers can set up or cancel electrical service and make payments.
  • Long Island Premier Physical & Aquatic Therapy is relocating its office 0.7 miles — from West Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst to Sunrise Plaza, at 58 E. Sunrise Hwy., said Reiss, who anticipates that it will open in about three months. The new office will occupy 4,178 square feet that was part of a former 99¢ & Up store that closed in January. The therapy office has another location on Sunrise Highway in Bay Shore.
  • Great Expressions Dental Center will open in 60 E. Sunrise Hwy. in Sunrise Plaza, likely in four months to five months, Reiss said. The dental center is taking 2,525 square feet remaining from the former 99¢ & Up store space. ADG LLC licenses the Great Expressions Dental Centers brand to more than 300 practices in nine states, including 11 on Long Island, that are independently owned and operated by dentists and their professional entities.
  • Miracle-Ear, which provides hearing aids and services, will take over a 1,330-square-foot unit at 64 E. Sunrise Hwy., said Reiss, who anticipates the opening will occur in three months. It will replace an EmbroidMe store, which sold embroidered and screen-printed clothes and promotional items before closing last year.

Long Island Premier Physical & Aquatic Therapy, Great Expressions Dental Center and Miracle-Ear did not respond to requests for comment.

As for the Verizon Wireless planned for Sunrise Plaza, the project still needs town approval because of the changes needed — the store would replace a former Mobil gas station at 624 Wellwood Ave., at the corner of Spiegelhagen Street. The gas station closed about four years ago, Reiss said.

The Cellular Connection, or TCC, which is an independent authorized agent selling Verizon cellphones, service plans and accessories, would own and operate the store, said David Weissmann, spokesman for Verizon’s Northeast market.

Indiana-based TCC did not respond to a request for comment.

Sunrise Plaza Associates has applied to Babylon Town to renovate the old gas station building as a 1,815-square-foot, freestanding Verizon store, said Kevin Bonner, spokesman for the town.

Babylon’s planning board approved the site plan for the project Jan. 7, but the zoning board’s approval of a rear-yard variance is still needed because the building is closer to the property line than the 50 feet allowed by code, he said.

Reiss expects the store to open in June or July.

Long Island has 96 Verizon Wireless stores — 14 company-owned and 82 run by independent authorized agents, spokesman Andy Choi said.

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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