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Retail Roundup: Samanea New York Mall shows signs of progress

Construction on the facade of the Samanea New

Construction on the facade of the Samanea New York Mall in Westbury continues Wednesday. Credit: Barry Sloan

The property formerly known as The Mall at the Source in Westbury has been mostly vacant for years and its renovations have been delayed.

Now called Samanea New York Mall, the 750,000-square-foot property on Old Country Road is showing signs of progress as the company that bought the mall in 2017 works to make it a destination venue for home furnishings and design retail, representatives said.

Three future tenants recently have signed leases, and $28 million in renovations are underway, spokesman David Ackerman said.

“Our renovation will be complete in 2020. . . . The whole building looks completely different from the outside,” he said.

A Bloomingdale’s Furniture, Mattress, and Rug Clearance Center is set to open in a 25,000-square-foot unit by spring.

Also, two restaurants — Hook & Reel, which specializes in Cajun seafood, and K-Pot, a Korean hot pot eatery — will open this spring in 5,500 square feet and approximately 7,000 square feet, respectively.

Samanea New York Mall currently has five permanent tenants — Dave & Buster’s, P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Fortunoff Fine Jewelry and Fortunoff Backyard Store.

About 50 percent of the space in the main mall building is accounted for with the three new leases and the five current tenants, said Matthew Kucker, director at real estate firm Colliers International’s Jericho office. Colliers is overseeing leasing for the mall.

Colliers is in lease negotiations with potential tenants that will occupy another 150,000 square feet, Kucker said. But the real estate firm is going after a particular set of businesses to strengthen its appeal, as malls and shopping centers nationwide struggle with losing tenants as shoppers turn more to online retail.

“We are not going after the typical mall tenants. We are going to become a home furnishings, design destination. And we want that concept to be applied to everything in the home category,” Kucker said.

The downfall of The Mall at the Source, which was originally built in 1996 for $200 million, began when one of its main anchors, a 250,000-square-foot, free-standing Fortunoff department store, closed in 2009 after the retailer’s bankruptcy, he said.

“The mall was built around Fortunoff,” he said.

Then after another anchor, Circuit City, left a 40,000-square-foot slot in the mall vacant, other tenants relocated nearby to The Gallery at Westbury Plaza, Kucker said.

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., purchased the mall for $92 million in May 2017.

Lesso owns Samanea Group, a Singapore-based company that invests in, develops, and operates large-scale trade centers. Samanea is the landlord for Samanea New York Mall, Kucker said.

Now, Lesso plans to use the name Samanea globally to brand home furnishings and design destinations, he said.

As for the property formerly known as The Mall at the Source, the renovations include replacing common area flooring, replacing the roof, reconfiguring the foot traffic flow on the first floor and adding new entrances on the Old Country Road side of the mall, Ackerman said.

There is no longer a food court on the second floor. Restaurant Row, which will be on the first floor, will be made up of fast-casual and casual restaurants that will have their own interior and exterior mall entrances, he 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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