2003-07-04 / Front Page

Beach 116 Southern Anchor To Get A New Look

By Tommy Hallissey
Beach 116 Southern Anchor To Get A New Look By Tommy Hallissey

The southern end of the major shopping street in Rockaway Park, Beach 116 Street may soon have a new look.

The Park Place Seaport, which has been nothing more than a home for pigeons for years, will re-open in August as a high-end retail store.

And, advertising has begun for a new nine-story luxury condo building that will be built on the parking lot adjacent to The Beach Club, to be completed sometime in 2004.

The Seaport building, which in the past has been a movie theatre, a roller hockey rink and restaurant, will feature a clothing store that will sell men’s, women’s, boy’s and girl’s clothing from brand name designers such as Tommy Hillfiger and Ralph Lauren at discount prices.

The upper level of 148 Beach 116 Street has been designated for office space. A small allotment of offices will be used for the ground floor tenant, ClassicCloseouts.com, while the rest is to be rented out to local business owners.

A Long Island businessman, Daniel Greenberg of ClassicCloseouts.com, signed a lease "for more than 30 years" for the property. Vacant and neglected, the building was full of garbage and pigeon droppings, when Greenberg first saw the property. "The condition of the building was abhorrent," said Greenberg.

Thus far, ClassicCloseouts.com has spent in excess of $400,000 in cleanup and renovations. By the time the building opens for business, cleanup and renovations costs are expected to be over $1 million, said Greenberg. As of now, ClassicCloseouts.com has secured the parking lot on the left hand side of the building with 25 to 40 spots and is in negotiations for additional parking on the right hand side of the building. "There’s a need for people to come down here and put their money where their mouth is," said Greenberg. ClassicCloseouts.com is an online retailer that also has stores in southern New Jersey.

Greenberg says he was attracted to the property because of the traffic that passes through 116 Street. An independent researcher hired by Greenberg estimated that on a slow day between 5,000 and 10,000 people walk down 116 Street yet on a busy day between 20,000 and 25,000 people are on the thoroughfare, according to Greenberg.

The Chamber of Commerce hopes that a new tenant on 116 Street will be a much-needed breath of fresh air to a stagnant block. "Empty property and vacant space are always depressing both visually and economically," said John Lepore, President of the Chamber of Commerce. An upscale, nine-story condominium is slated to open in the fall of 2004 between Beach 116 and 117 Streets. Ocean Grande has bought advertisements to test the market and is waiting for the offering plan to be approved by the attorney general.

Originally scheduled to open the second week in May, problems with the building codes have delayed the opening of the old Seaport building. Since the back half of the building is located on 115 Street, that half is still zoned for residential use.

Greenberg has sought variances from the Buildings Department of the City of New York. The Build­ings Department has yet to render a decision on the issue. "Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and do what’s right for the community," said Greenberg

In the recent memory, 148 Beach 116 Street changed hands repeatedly before lying dormant for the last few years. Greenberg appears undaunted by the rapid turnover and certain that he newest investment will be lucrative. "I don’t gam­ble," joked Greenberg, who said he goes to Las Vegas 14 times a year on business and never plays as much as a hand of black jack.

Greenberg said he feels that his store will benefit the entire peninsula, which lacks clothing stores to suit resident’s shopping needs. "I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t given me a high five," said Greenberg.


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