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Retail Roundup: Redevelopment underway at former Sears site in East Northport

Work has begun to convert a former Sears store into a movie theater, gym and smaller retail space, and is on track to be finished later this year.

Rendering shows planned new occupants for a former

Rendering shows planned new occupants for a former Sears store in East Northport's Huntington Square Mall.

A former Sears store’s makeover into a movie theater, gym and smaller retail space in East Northport is on track to be finished this year.

Redevelopment is underway at the former department store in the Huntington Square Mall at 4000 Jericho Tpke.

A multiscreen AMC movie theater, 24 Hour Fitness, Floor & Decor store and “small shop retail” space are slated for the site, and the “estimated substantial completion” of the construction work will occur by the fourth quarter of this year, according to a financial report the developer, Seritage Growth Properties in Manhattan, released in November.

Also headed this year to part of the shopping center not owned by Seritage — and outside of the old Sears footprint — are a Chipotle Mexican Grill, taking 2,700 square feet, and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, taking 3,154 square feet.

The redevelopment project in the former Sears will cost more than $20 million, according to the report from Seritage, a real estate investment trust that owns the former Sears mall section through  its Seritage SRC Finance unit.

“It’s exciting for East Northport because it’s new, it’s vibrant, it’s going to be a destination. I guess, more important for the town, [the project will be] providing a much-needed and critical tax base and jobs,” said Huntington attorney Michael McCarthy, who represented Seritage in its construction applications with the town.

In May, the Huntington Planning Board granted site plan approval to Seritage’s proposal to convert the two-story Sears space into a 54,199-square-foot movie theater, 39,384-square-foot fitness club, and 88,326 square feet of retail space, the town said. 

Seritage declined to comment on its redevelopment in Huntington Square, other than to email an online link to its financial report.

But Kansas-based AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said the movie theater  it plans for the shopping center was on track to open by the end of 2019.

“We will have more information about what guests can expect as we get closer to the opening,” AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan said.

The theater will have 13 screens and stadium seating, McCarthy said.

California-based gym chain 24 Hour Fitness declined to provide details about its  plans for Huntington Square. Floor & Decor, an Atlanta-based chain, did not respond to a request for comment.

Formed in 2015, Seritage is a spinoff of Sears that acquired 235 of Sears Holdings Corp. store properties and interest in 31 others. The purpose was to convert Sears and Kmart stores to higher-value uses, such as shopping, dining and entertainment locations, but Seritage also collects rent from Sears stores that are still operating.

Both Chipotle and America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses likely will open their new locations in Huntington Square in 2019's third quarter, said Wendy Pierce, spokeswoman for Federal Realty Investment Trust, the Maryland-based owner of 74,000 square feet of the shopping center.

The tenants will take over space  left by plus-size women’s clothing store Lane Bryant, which closed in January 2017, Pierce said.

California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. confirmed only that its Huntington Square restaurant would open this summer.  Georgia-based chain America’s Best, which entered the Long Island market by opening a store in Carle Place in December, has not said when its Huntington Square optical store will open.

The chain describes itself as a “value optical retailer.”

“We offer our customers two pairs of glasses for $69.95, and that includes a free eye exam. We combine both parts of the optical equation — eyewear and eye care — into one great experience at one low price,” America’s Best 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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