The $28 million renovation is done at Samanea New York Mall...

The $28 million renovation is done at Samanea New York Mall and new tenants are lined up for the Westbury retail property. Credit: Newsday/Howard Simmons

Samanea New York’s approximately $28 million renovation is done and new tenants are lined up for the Westbury retail property, formerly called the Mall at the Source, after years of being mostly vacant.

Among the incoming tenants will be Leonardo Furniture, which will open by June, and Empire Adventure Park, a family entertainment center that will open in the last quarter of 2022, said Dominic Coluccio, Samanea New York's chief leasing and development officer.

'Lifestyle' destinations

Samanea New York is attempting to change its fortunes by focusing on tenants that specialize in home furnishings, experiential offerings, and food and beverages.

"Malls are now re-purposing and we are becoming a lifestyle destination. … and not just becoming a general mall," Coluccio said.

Leonardo Furniture and Empire Adventure Park, as well as the previously announced incoming businesses and six current tenants, will bring the total amount of leased space at the mall to 60%, the mall said.

That’s a significant change for the 750,000-square-foot mall, a long-struggling property that was bought for $92 million in 2017 by Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Lesso Group Holdings Ltd.

Kawai Piano Outlet opened at Samanea New York in Westbury in...

Kawai Piano Outlet opened at Samanea New York in Westbury in January. About $28 million in renovations were recently completed at the mall, which is courting food, home furnishings and experiential tenants now. Credit: Newsday/Howard Simmons

The six current tenants are Dave & Buster’s; The Cheesecake Factory; Fortunoff Backyard Store; Leon Banilivi Rugs; Bloomingdale’s Furniture Outlet, which opened in September; and Kawai Piano Outlet, which opened in January.

Previously announced incoming tenants are:

  • Asian American grocer 99 Ranch Market is opening its first store in New York state in November at the mall. The store will occupy space vacated by Circuit City more than a decade ago.
  • Two restaurants — Szechuan Cuisine and K-Pot, a Korean hotpot and barbecue eatery — will open in late 2022 in a first-floor area of the mall that has been designed as Restaurant Row.
  • MoCa Asian Bistro, which also will be in Restaurant Row, will open in early 2022 in a space that was vacated by P.F. Chang’s last year. P.F. Chang’s closed in March 2020 "due to various circumstances, including the global [COVID-19] pandemic and the expiration of the property lease," a spokeswoman told Newsday in June.

Fortunoff Fine Jewelry, which had been in the mall since 2014, vacated its 1,903-square-foot space in January.

A different flow

Empire Adventure Park will feature trampolines, ninja obstacle courses, a ropes course, climbing walls, augmented reality games, food, beer and wine.

"We’re really trying to cater toward the whole family and make it a positive experience for the entire family," said Empire owner Matt Mullen, a Rockville Centre resident.

Empire will move into a 35,572-square-foot space that off-price department store Saks Off 5th vacated in 2011.

Leonardo Furniture will occupy a 35,727-square-foot, two-level space that Old Navy left in 2013.

The furniture store will be owned by Lawrence resident Rami Macani, who has three other Leonardo Furniture locations in Rockville Centre, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Macani, who closed a Leonardo Furniture store on Merrick Avenue in Westbury in 2018, is expanding in Westbury again because he sees potential there, he said.

"[I like the] size. We like a new adventure. We can’t get to Roosevelt Field, so this is the closest we can get to where is all the business," he said.

Samanea New York is 1.6 miles away from Roosevelt Field, in Garden City, the most popular mall on Long Island.

Roosevelt Field "is a traditional mall with all the clothing retailers, so I don’t think that we need 750,000 square feet of traditional retailers," said Matthew Kucker, managing director in real estate firm Colliers International’s Jericho office. Colliers is overseeing leasing for the mall.

Lesso’s renovations of Samanea New York, which started in 2018 and ended in March, included creating a more convenient layout and more access points at the mall, with a new entrance on the Old Country Road side of the mall and one on the Merchants Concourse side, Coluccio said.

Also, the changes included reconfiguring the foot traffic flow, adding more common-area flooring on the first floor, closing the food court on the second floor and replacing the roof, he said. The new Restaurant Row will be made up of fast-casual and casual restaurants that will have their own interior and exterior mall entrances on the first floor.

Also, the mall is offering more flexible lease terms to pop-up and other temporary tenants, Kucker said. Among the incentives being offered is up to one year of free rent to some pop-ups, he said.

HISTORY OF SAMANEA NEW YORK

  • Formerly called the Mall at the Source, the mall was built for $200 million and opened in 1997 in Westbury.
  • The mall's decline began after a main anchor, a 250,000-square-foot Fortunoff department store, closed in 2009 after the retailer’s bankruptcy.
  • Lenders took ownership of the mall in 2012 after a foreclosure auction found no buyers willing to pay $148 million to pay off its debts.
  • Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Lesso Group Holdings Ltd., bought the mall for $92 million in 2017.

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