Huntington Shopping Center is slated for a drastic makeover that would include a new Whole Foods Market and ring up a price tag of more than $40 million.
Built in 1962, the shopping center, just south of Walt Whitman Shops, will be reconfigured, bringing in Whole Foods and other new tenants, and adding new facades, landscaping, outdoor seating and wider sidewalks to create a more walkable area, if the town of Huntington approves the planned renovations.
"It’s an extensive redevelopment. … I would say that it’s a unique retail experience," said Christopher W. Robinson, president of R&M Engineering, a Huntington firm working on the project.
Federal Realty Investment Trust, a North Bethesda, Maryland-based real estate firm, owns Huntington Shopping Center, a 21-acre, 263,000-square-foot property on Route 110, at 350 Walt Whitman Road.
"We are very excited about what's coming for Huntington and hope to be able to share the full story in the coming months. In the meantime, we are working with the town to move the plans forward," Mark Brennan, Federal Realty’s vice president of regional development, said in a statement Wednesday.
Federal Realty declined to provide more details about the project, including naming any of the coming tenants, but plans the company filed with the town of Huntington and discussions during planning and zoning board of appeals meetings over the past several months provide some insight.
Architectural renderings Federal Realty filed with the town showed a Whole Foods in the proposed redevelopment.
The real estate firm is seeking town approval of a site plan related to its proposal "to reconfigure existing tenant spaces, provide additional restaurant space, erect two freestanding 8,000-square-foot buildings, erect an addition to the easterly side of the southern building, and establish an outdoor storage area for associated maintenance equipment," according to town documents.
"A significant portion of the back building from Buy Buy Baby to Applebee’s will be taken down and reconstructed," Robinson said.
The two new 8,000-square-foot buildings planned for the parking lot will be mostly for food and beverage tenants, he said.
Federal Realty will spend more than $40 million on the renovation, an attorney for the firm said during a Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals hearing in September.
Whole Foods has been expanding quickly on Long Island, where the high-end grocer opened its fifth local store in November, in Garden City, which it calls its Westbury store. The Austin, Texas-based chain, which opened a store in Commack in 2019, also plans to open a location in Massapequa this fall.
A Whole Foods spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that the grocer had a Huntington store in development but she declined to provide further details.
During a Wednesday evening Zoom meeting, which Robinson and some Federal Realty representatives attended, the Huntington Planning Board agreed to approve the architecture and recommend to the Building Department that Federal Realty be allowed to file for its building permit. The project still requires site plan approval.
In addition to Applebee’s and Buy Buy Baby, Huntington Shopping Center’s existing tenants include PetSmart, arts and crafts store Michaels, Ulta Beauty and clothing store Tillys.
Off-price department store Nordstrom Rack is also a tenant, but that store will be closing May 28 or within two weeks after that date due to "economic" reasons, according to Nordstrom Inc.'s filing with the New York State Department of Labor.