An artist rendering of the Wegmans store planned for Lake Grove.

An artist rendering of the Wegmans store planned for Lake Grove. Credit: Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

The opening of Wegmans’ first Long Island supermarket will be delayed until 2025 because of the longer-than-expected wait time to get approval of the subdivision plan, according to a real estate firm official.

The high-end grocer said last year that the store would open in Lake Grove in 2024.

“After receiving all our permitting approvals, we began demolition of the existing building in early November. We are currently evaluating the new food market construction schedule to determine an opening date, but we anticipate it will be early 2025,” Mandee Puleo, spokeswoman for the Rochester-based grocer, said Monday.

Wegmans said in December that it expected construction of its 100,000-square-foot grocery store in the shopping center, called DSW Plaza at Lake Grove, would start after its purchase of 8½.5 acres of the property, which was expected to close last spring.

Approval of the subdivision of the site, which was required before the sale of the property by Prestige Properties and Development could close, took longer than expected, said Jerry Welkis, president of Welco Realty Inc., the New Rochelle-based real estate firm that represents Prestige.

The sale closed Oct. 12.

Wegmans bought the property for $15.3 million, according to the Suffolk County clerk’s office.

Former Toys R Us/Babies R Us and Ashley Furniture stores...

Former Toys R Us/Babies R Us and Ashley Furniture stores are being demolished on site where new Wegmans will be built. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa-Loarca

Manhattan-based Prestige will continue to own and operate the remaining approximately 20 acres of the shopping center, which is at the corner of Middle Country and Moriches roads.

Former Babies R Us/Toys R Us and Ashley Furniture stores in the shopping center are being demolished, and the Wegmans will replace them.

Founded in 1916, Wegmans Food Markets Inc. is a private, family-owned company that operates 110 stores in Washington, D.C., and eight states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. The company employs more than 53,000 people and had sales of $12 billion in 2022, Wegmans said.

USA Today ranked Wegmans the 10th best grocery store in the country in September, based on readers’ votes.

“Wegmans has gained a reputation as a high-end store and a destination for a good meal. They are famous for their own cheese line, specialty sandwiches, and a variety of in-store eateries. And they have managed to offer premium items at various price points that keep customers happy,” said Rob Weisberg, president of marketing technology at Inmar Intelligence, a retail industry analytics company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Growing interest

DSW Plaza at Lake Grove will total about 275,000 square feet once the Wegmans is built, said Welkis, who added that 39,000 square feet remain unleased.

Leasing interest in the shopping center, however, has increased greatly since Wegmans announced in April 2022 its plan to open a store there, and Welco Realty is in talks with several national retailers about taking space, Welkis said.

“We anticipate being fully leased based on the interest we have in the center right now and the letters of intent we have. … By the time Wegmans is open, we will be fully leased,” he said.

Wells Fargo has signed a lease to open a 3,200-square-foot, free-standing bank that will be built at the shopping center next year, he said.

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