Developers have big plans for the Sun Vet Mall property including making an open-air shopping center. NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports.  Credit: Kendall Rodriguez and James Carbone

Years of neglect are behind Sun Vet Mall’s nearly vacant state but that could begin to change soon, according to an official at a company that plans to overhaul the Holbrook property.

Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd., which signed a 99-year ground lease for the mall over the summer, submitted plans to the town of Islip last week to redevelop the long-struggling mall as a shopping center.

The Syosset-based company's proposal includes demolishing sections of the mall, which would be reduced in size by 42%, from 282,000 to 163,000 square feet, a town representative said.

The plans to “de-mall” the Holbrook property align with those of other commercial landlords that have turned malls into shopping centers in recent years as open-air and other retail concepts become more popular than smaller malls like Sun Vet, said Jon Cohen, a principal at Blumenfeld Development.

“There’s been a repositioning of retailers throughout Long Island and we think [Sun Vet Mall] is a logical place for retail to be located.  It’s a thriving community that we think deserves a much better, updated shopping experience,” said Cohen, who said Blumenfeld Development hopes to start redevelopment of the mall in 2023.

Cohen attributes some of the mall’s demise to neglect.

“For whatever reason, the property owner never updated the center with the times,” he said.

Blumenfeld Development signed a 99-year ground lease for Sun Vet Mall with the owner, Marvin L. Lindner Associates LLC, effective July 1, that gives the developer the right to redevelop and operate the property as if it were the owner, Cohen said.

Under the name BDG Sun-Vet LLC, Blumenfeld Development submitted several building-related applications to the town of Islip on Oct. 5, including one for a change of zoning — from the current split-zoned Business 3 and Industrial Corridor District to just Business 3, according to a town representative.  The developer's submissions also included a site plan and an application for a town board special permit to add drive-thru restaurants to the property. 

Blumenfeld Development's proposal calls for adding seven pad sites, or outparcels, totaling 27,000 square feet, that would be a mix of restaurants, bank drive-thrus, and medical and retail space, town spokesman Justin Danford said.

Public hearings before the town and planning boards will be scheduled.

Built in 1973 at 5801 Sunrise Hwy., the once-bustling Sun Vet Mall, which sits on 18 acres, has been losing tenants for years, including two major anchors — an approximately 100,000-square-foot Toys R Us store and a 60,000-square-foot Pathmark supermarket that closed after their parent companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017 and 2015, respectively.

Now only four tenants remain in the mall: Red Wing shoe store, Citibank, Closeouts and Liquidations, and Sun Vet Wines and Liquors.

One or two of the current tenants will remain after the redevelopment, Cohen said.

But Red Wing won’t be one of them.

The shoe store, which has been in the mall since 2006, will be relocating to Gateway Plaza, at 499 Sunrise Hwy. in Patchogue, in early spring, said Abbey Hart, property manager in Store Development Global Retail at Red Wing Shoe Co., which is based in Red Wing, Minnesota, and has 525 Red Wing shoe stores in the United States.

Closeouts and Liquidations could not be reached for comment about its plans.  Citibank and Sun Vet Wines and Liquors declined to comment.

Town officials are hopeful about the future direction of the mall and its impending tenants, Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement.

The developer is "still in the approval process; however, these businesses and merchants will contribute to the local economy by bringing jobs, as well as providing goods and services to the surrounding communities that currently don’t exist,” she said.

Bayport resident Julia Vera, 49, used to visit the mall frequently because she used to do her grocery shopping at Pathmark and her two daughters liked to go to Toys R Us when they were little, she said before walking into Citibank at the mall last week.  

“This is very sad. … I’ve seen each store close down one by one,” said Vera, who said the mall could benefit from some sit-down restaurants.

Bayport resident Walter Vail, 59, wanted to see new restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, at the mall, but said almost anything would be an improvement as long as the redevelopment doesn’t include condos.

“There are condos over here, condos over there.  … We’ve got enough condos already,” he said.

Years of neglect are behind Sun Vet Mall’s nearly vacant state but that could begin to change soon, according to an official at a company that plans to overhaul the Holbrook property.

Blumenfeld Development Group Ltd., which signed a 99-year ground lease for the mall over the summer, submitted plans to the town of Islip last week to redevelop the long-struggling mall as a shopping center.

The Syosset-based company's proposal includes demolishing sections of the mall, which would be reduced in size by 42%, from 282,000 to 163,000 square feet, a town representative said.

The plans to “de-mall” the Holbrook property align with those of other commercial landlords that have turned malls into shopping centers in recent years as open-air and other retail concepts become more popular than smaller malls like Sun Vet, said Jon Cohen, a principal at Blumenfeld Development.

What to Know

  • Blumenfeld Development Group, the new operator of struggling Sun Vet Mall in Holbrook, has submitted plans to redevelop the property as a shopping center.
  • Public hearings must be scheduled on the redevelopment plans, which call for demolishing parts of the mall and adding drive-thru restaurants at the site.
  • The nearly vacant mall, built in 1973, has only four tenants left.

“There’s been a repositioning of retailers throughout Long Island and we think [Sun Vet Mall] is a logical place for retail to be located.  It’s a thriving community that we think deserves a much better, updated shopping experience,” said Cohen, who said Blumenfeld Development hopes to start redevelopment of the mall in 2023.

Cohen attributes some of the mall’s demise to neglect.

“For whatever reason, the property owner never updated the center with the times,” he said.

A man walks through the mostly empty Sun Vet Mall...

A man walks through the mostly empty Sun Vet Mall in Holbrook on Oct. 7.  The mall has only four tenants. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Blumenfeld Development signed a 99-year ground lease for Sun Vet Mall with the owner, Marvin L. Lindner Associates LLC, effective July 1, that gives the developer the right to redevelop and operate the property as if it were the owner, Cohen said.

Under the name BDG Sun-Vet LLC, Blumenfeld Development submitted several building-related applications to the town of Islip on Oct. 5, including one for a change of zoning — from the current split-zoned Business 3 and Industrial Corridor District to just Business 3, according to a town representative.  The developer's submissions also included a site plan and an application for a town board special permit to add drive-thru restaurants to the property. 

Blumenfeld Development's proposal calls for adding seven pad sites, or outparcels, totaling 27,000 square feet, that would be a mix of restaurants, bank drive-thrus, and medical and retail space, town spokesman Justin Danford said.

Public hearings before the town and planning boards will be scheduled.

Built in 1973 at 5801 Sunrise Hwy., the once-bustling Sun Vet Mall, which sits on 18 acres, has been losing tenants for years, including two major anchors — an approximately 100,000-square-foot Toys R Us store and a 60,000-square-foot Pathmark supermarket that closed after their parent companies filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017 and 2015, respectively.

Now only four tenants remain in the mall: Red Wing shoe store, Citibank, Closeouts and Liquidations, and Sun Vet Wines and Liquors.

Closeouts and Liquidations, one of the few remaining tenants, could...

Closeouts and Liquidations, one of the few remaining tenants, could not be reached for comment on the redevelopment plans.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

One or two of the current tenants will remain after the redevelopment, Cohen said.

But Red Wing won’t be one of them.

The shoe store, which has been in the mall since 2006, will be relocating to Gateway Plaza, at 499 Sunrise Hwy. in Patchogue, in early spring, said Abbey Hart, property manager in Store Development Global Retail at Red Wing Shoe Co., which is based in Red Wing, Minnesota, and has 525 Red Wing shoe stores in the United States.

Closeouts and Liquidations could not be reached for comment about its plans.  Citibank and Sun Vet Wines and Liquors declined to comment.

Town officials are hopeful about the future direction of the mall and its impending tenants, Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said in a statement.

The developer is "still in the approval process; however, these businesses and merchants will contribute to the local economy by bringing jobs, as well as providing goods and services to the surrounding communities that currently don’t exist,” she said.

Bayport resident Julia Vera, 49, used to visit the mall frequently because she used to do her grocery shopping at Pathmark and her two daughters liked to go to Toys R Us when they were little, she said before walking into Citibank at the mall last week.  

“This is very sad. … I’ve seen each store close down one by one,” said Vera, who said the mall could benefit from some sit-down restaurants.

Bayport resident Walter Vail, 59, wanted to see new restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, at the mall, but said almost anything would be an improvement as long as the redevelopment doesn’t include condos.

“There are condos over here, condos over there.  … We’ve got enough condos already,” he said.

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME