Mariano Rivera, who used to pitch in front of 50,000 people at Yankee Stadium, appeared before 50 people Tuesday at Comsewogue Public Library in Port Jefferson Station as he pitched his plan for a car dealership.
The venue was different but the outcome familiar to baseball fans: the Hall of Fame closer and his team came away with a victory.
After Rivera’s partners outlined their plans for a Honda dealership — which would bear Rivera’s name — the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Civic Association, which conducted the meeting, voted to send a letter to Brookhaven Town officials voicing no objections to the project.
“The community asked questions and we answered the questions,” Rivera said in an interview as he left the meeting, adding he would be involved in running the dealership when it opens. “We will make sure that we are doing the best thing for the community and for us.”
Rivera and his partners plan to buy the North Shore Certified car dealership at 1435 Route 112 and rename it Mariano Rivera Honda. They plan to seek a zoning change from the Town of Brookhaven to expand an existing building on the property, but have not yet formally applied for the zoning change and permits.
The 8.1-acre site includes a 6,425-square-foot building. Rivera wants to expand that building by about 33 percent, construct a new 50,533-square-foot sales and service facility, and create storage space for about 353 vehicles, according to architectural plans.
Rivera, who owns a Toyota dealership that bears his name in Mount Kisco, Westchester County, did not speak during the half-hour meeting Tuesday. He raised both arms and was greeted with applause after civic president Salvatore Pitti, a Mets fan, introduced him as “probably the greatest closer of all time.”
Some residents asked questions about issues such as landscaping, hours of operation and lighting. Rivera’s partners promised to comply with Brookhaven Town requirements.
Pitti said Rivera’s partners made a strong presentation. “I don’t think it will be a problem,” Pitti said.
Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, who attended the meeting, said Port Jefferson Station residents appear to support the project. “It seems as though they had responses to all the questions of the community,” she said.
Some residents were less interested in the dealership than in meeting Rivera.
Maxwell Aron, 13, and his brother, Spencer, 11, were thrilled to meet one of their baseball heroes. Maxwell, wearing a Yankees jersey, said he looked forward to buying a car at Rivera’s dealership someday.
“It was a good experience,” he said.