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Queens Chronicle

New hope for the Douglaston Plaza mall

Lowe’s signs lease; work starts at mall to accommodate it moving in

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Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:30 am

First, the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center lost an anchor tenant in Macy’s in 2017.

Then, with Lowe’s planning to take over the department store’s space, its proposal required shutting down Movie World. The theater closed last June.

Toys ‘R’ Us shuttered after that.

Modell’s Sporting Goods followed.

And last week, almost a year after its former neighbor Movie World closed, Burger King shut its doors.

The shopping center exodus reflects a larger, national crisis affecting the retail industry as brick-and-mortar stores compete with Amazon and other online sellers.

“I just generally think that these commercial store-type operations at least in the large size are not functioning too well,” Douglaston Civic Association President Sean Walsh said in an interview. “There are a lot of open spaces all over the place.”

The lack of tenants has area residents worried, Douglaston Townhouse Condominiums Board of Managers President Rosemarie Guidice told the Chronicle.

“It was actually devastating,” she said. “It was very, very frustrating for a long time.”

It didn’t help that neighborhood gossipers were spreading disinformation, saying that Lowe’s wasn’t coming and that the shopping center would be sold.

But it is.

The home improvement giant told the Chronicle that it signed a lease for the location on Wednesday. The Douglaston store will be its second in Queens — there is already one in Rosedale.

Physical construction has begun at the former Macy’s space to accommodate Lowe’s, Guidice said.

The property owner, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., did not return a Chronicle inquiry prior to deadline.

Guidice, who is regularly in touch with AAC in her role as the Douglaston Townhouse Condominiums head, said the firm has been talking to some potential tenants.

“They’re ... speaking to quite a few people for the middle level of the mall,” she said. “They’re having dialogues with quite a few people.”

She said that AAC specifically has been in discussions with fast-food chains about them potentially taking over the former Burger King space.

Overall, Guidice said, she is “very, very optimistic” about the shopping center’s future.

Not everyone feels the same, though.

Lary Penner, a Great Neck, LI, resident and transit historian who’s long patronized businesses at the shopping center, said he’ll believe Lowe’s is coming when a location in Douglaston “actually opens. ... The proof of the pudding will be when” the company starts hiring workers for the site.

He definitely wants to see more economic activity at the shopping center, though.

“It looks like an abandoned shopping mall that you’d see in Middle America,” Penner said, calling the open-air mall a “ghost town.”

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Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • Buster57 posted at 10:39 am on Sat, Jun 15, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    Ryan Brady, will you be doing a follow-up?


     
  • aterry posted at 7:02 pm on Wed, Jun 5, 2019.

    aterry Posts: 1

    If Lowe's has signed a lease, why is there a gigantic sign offering retail space? There are no visible signs of construction, unless it's all very small and all interior.


     
  • Buster57 posted at 6:29 pm on Thu, May 9, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    I wonder why Lowe's required the Movie World space. Lowe's taking over Macy's (2 floors), Modell's and Toys R Us isn't enough?? They should turn the space into a lovely indoor mall, Lowe's the main player but incorporating a food court & some other stores (I can even imagine a cute little kiddie play area) that you can meander through. It sure could be a fun place to go. Of course it would have to have an Orange Julius stand![beam]