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Target eyes Huntington Town House site for store

The former site of the Huntington Town House

The former site of the Huntington Town House now sits empty on Route 25 in Huntington Station. The site had been prepared for a Lowe's store, but will now be developed for a Target store. (Aug. 13, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

Target plans to build a store at the Huntington Station site where Lowe's abandoned plans to locate.

The 18-acre Jericho Turnpike property owned by the home improvement chain is in contract to be sold, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said Monday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Target has submitted an application to develop the property to the Town of Huntington, town spokesman A.J. Carter said. The application needs to be reviewed and approved by the town's planning board.

Lowe's bought the property -- former site of the Huntington Town House catering hall -- in 2007 for $35 million to build a new store. But the company pulled out of the project last year and put the property, just east of Route 110, up for sale.

Representatives from Target and Lowe's declined to comment.

A for-sale brochure notes that the Lowe's property is near Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers, and that more than 37,000 cars pass the site each day. It is located just northeast of Walt Whitman Shops.

A Target on the site would be beneficial to both Long Island consumers and the local economy, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research firm.

"It's good will for the community; everybody would love to have a Target," he said. "That's a couple hundred jobs that will get put there immediately, not to mention the construction that would go into it."

Although Target stores in Commack and Farmingdale are close to the Huntington Station property, Cohen said a new store should not affect business at other Long Island Targets. The retailer is trying to become a local shopping destination that consumers can frequent every day, instead of a weekend shopping occasion, so proximity should not be an issue, he said.

There are 12 Target stores on Long Island.

Lowe's decision to abandon the property showed the chain is suffering from the effects of the housing downturn and competition with Home Depot, said David Pennetta, president of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island.

Pennetta, who is a member of the Huntington planning board, said he has not seen the Target application yet.

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