Backers of a plan to move a 7-Eleven convenience store on Hospital Road in East Patchogue to a new location across the street say it will improve two decaying properties.
The new 2,995-square-foot store, if approved by Brookhaven Town officials, would be larger and more modern than the current shop — and it would replace an abandoned diner that has been defaced by graffiti and occupied by squatters, officials said June 18 at a Brookhaven Town Board public hearing.
The 7-Eleven, currently on the southeast corner of Hospital Road and Sunrise Highway, would be relocated to the southwest corner, where the diner now stands. The diner would be torn down as part of the project.
Town officials said the Island Grill diner, which closed about a decade ago, has attracted vandals, and the grounds have been used for illegal dumping. The property's owner boarded up the diner in response to complaints, officials said.
"It's a blighted eyesore," said Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley, who represents East Patchogue on the town board. "Unfortunately, people will find a way to get into dwellings that are not occupied. ... We had to call police multiple times."
After the hearing, the town board voted 7-0 to approve zoning changes and property use restriction waivers to allow 7-Eleven to move to the 6.63-acre site. The new store would include gas pumps; part of the property is reserved for potential future construction of an office building.
The project requires the approval of a site plan and variances by the town planning board and zoning board of appeals. Construction is expected to begin in about a year.
The current 7-Eleven store, just north of Long Island Community Hospital, would close and the property put up for sale, officials said. Gas tanks at the site would be removed, said Alfred L. Amato, a Garden City attorney for 7-Eleven.
“We believe we are doing the right thing for the community,” Amato said.
He said his client has been in "ongoing" talks to sell the site to the hospital, adding those talks have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. A hospital spokeswoman could not immediately comment.
Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the uncertainty of the property's future ownership left him "somewhat leery," but added he understood the hospital might construct offices or a medical building if it purchases the site.
"I am encouraged by the fact that a second convenience store would not be on the corner,” he said.
Foley added in an interview the town does not want to see the site remain vacant.
"We didn't want to trade one blighted site for another blighted site," he said.
Town officials said the owners of 7-Eleven's East Patchogue franchise own other stores in town, including one in Rocky Point that improved a dilapidated site.
“They have been wonderful to work with," said Councilman Michael Loguercio. "They’ve done everything that we asked them to do. They cleaned up a really huge blight in that community. ... I feel that this group is the right group to do this project.”
Out with the old
7-Eleven is proposing to build a new store in East Patchogue, replacing its current store on the southeast corner of Hospital Road and Sunrise Highway. Here are details of the proposed new shop:
Location: Southwest corner of Sunrise Highway and Hospital Road
Property size: 6.63 acres
Store size: 2,995 square feet, including 1,800 square feet for retail use
Other amenities: Gas pumps, possible future office building