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Queens Chronicle

CB 4 chair: Queens Place mall closing (update: It's not)

Also says Target would move to old Kmart location in Middle Village

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:30 am

UPDATE: Management at the mall says it is not closing, and Community Board 4 Chairman Louis Walker acknowledges that what he heard is not true.

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Queens Place mall in Elmhurst could be closing at the end of the year, Community Board 4 Chairman Louis Walker announced during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“While there’s no official announcement it appears the site will be closing and after the closing the question is will they reopen it or will they decide not to reopen it as a mall? That’s a rather large parcel of land so we should be quite concerned to know what’s going to end up in that space if it doesn’t remain a mall,” he said.

The announcement came as a surprise to the crowd, with District Manager Christian Cassagnol telling the Chronicle after the meeting that he knew nothing of the news until Walker spoke.

Located at 88-01 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, the mall opened in 1965 and includes a Target, Best Buy, DSW and Red Lobster among its businesses.

Walker noted, “If you’ve been there lately, there’s several stores that are already gone.” Outback Steakhouse was one that closed last year.

He added that it seems like the electrical grid at the location is not in good shape.

Walker said the Target will move to Middle Village where Kmart used to be located.

“I’m disappointed that they’re not going to move up to the Sears location right on Queens Boulevard but I’m sure it’s a price thing,” he said. Walker added there’s a chance that workers at the mall will be looking for work immediately after the Christmas season.

Kmart no longer occupies the premises in the Metro Mall in Middle Village after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Felice Bassin, one of the owners of the building at 66-26 Metropolitan Ave., site of Rentar Plaza, said nothing has been signed.

“We’re still negotiating with a number of people,” she told the Chronicle, adding “I can’t confirm anything right this minute.”

Bassin also said, “There are no signed deals yet. For anybody.”

Count Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) as someone who would like to see Target come into his neighborhood.

“I’m hopeful that Target is in fact coming to the Rentar Plaza because I think that would be a great use of the space and my constituents would benefit from it,” he said in a statement. “I would also welcome other stores from Queens Place, if that mall ends up closing, to help fill the void at Rentar Plaza and add value to it once again.”

There is a plan to build a Target at 40-31 82nd St. on the border of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, though it has drawn the ire of Queens Neighborhoods United, an anti-gentrification group.

As for Rentar Plaza, Bassin told Community Board 5 in January, “the retail market has changed tremendously, especially in the last five years for many, many reasons.”

She said there are 190,000 square feet to lease, with 145,000 on one side and 45,000 more where Toys ‘R’ Us was formerly located.

Bassin also explained the next business to come into the site could possibly be a logistics warehouse as opposed to a retailer.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • stan chaz posted at 9:19 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2019.

    stan chaz Posts: 33

    I seriously doubt that Target would willingly give up its bustling Queens Blvd store which is so convenient to both transit and vehicular traffic.
    The store was recently renovated and is a neighborhood asset that we should support and encourage.
    If anything, Target would be wise to expand in that site, which was originally entirely a large Macy’s store, before it was cut up into individual store mall parcels (nowadays only a Macy’s furniture outlet remainsfrom that original Macys, in a prime first floor location).
    If Target was able to take over the whole site (or more of it) it could have a direct street side entrance, which would be a hefty boost to customer street traffic. As it is now, off-the-street customers need to work their way through a maze of elevators or escalators before they can even reach the main second floor Target store entrance.
    Of course the old Sears site might be a good alternative if it comes to that. It has a great location and the failure of Sears at that site tells us much more about the shortcomings of Sears, as opposed to the smart selling practices and offerings of Target. In addition, few alterations would need to be main to the store layout.
    Rentar Plaza in Middle Village is failing because it is too far from subway transit, and if Target locates there it would have the same drawbacks & problems. There are many more potential subway-using customers in populous Queens (and nearby Brooklyn) than those who primarily use cars to shop, and I am sure that Target realizes that fact.