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Mar 14, 2012 10:11 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Supermarket Opponent Offers $1.6 Million For Glennon Property

Mar 14, 2012 10:33 AM

An opponent of a proposal to build a high-end grocery store in Southampton Village has offered $1.6 million to purchase the property, demolish the existing buildings, re-forest the property and donate it to the Peconic Land Trust—an offer the current owners quickly rejected.

Abraham Wallach has been the most vociferous of the opponents to a proposal by the Southampton Village Board to rezone a section of Hampton Road and County Road 39 to allow a supermarket on a former car dealership property where the two roads intersect. On Tuesday he attempted to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, with his cash offer to the Glennon family, which owns the property.

Mr. Wallach offered the Glennons $1.6 million in cash for the 2-acre property and offered to pay an estimated additional $200,000 to have the buildings demolished, clean up spilled oil from the decades the property was used for auto servicing, and plant a dense thicket of trees. He said he would then turn it over to the Trust for preservation.

Mr. Wallach, who described himself as a developer, also said in an interview on Tuesday that he is spearheading an effort by a group of wealthy local residents to purchase other commercial properties at the village’s main gateways to “beautify” them.

“I will get a tax deduction for the contribution. That is enough for me—I don’t need it but I’ll take it,” Mr. Wallach said. “If I’ve got, maybe, 20 years left, I’m going to spend them doing what I think is right. I have no agenda.”

Regardless of Mr. Wallach’s motives, Walter Glennon, the principal owner of the property, said his family is not interested in his offer. He said the family has received much higher offers for the property but is not interested in selling. He said the intention of the family is to keep the property as a family asset for future generations.

The Glennon family has owned the property since 1955, operating a car dealership there for most of that time. The parcel has been vacant for three years.

Mr. Glennon again defended the proposal that spurred the village’s re-zoning proposal. The Glennons approached the Village Board three years ago to inquire about the options for redeveloping the property—beyond leasing it to a new car dealership, of which several have expressed interest, Mr. Glennon said. The village guided the family to a grocery store use, which requires a change of zone, and Mr. Glennon said the family, knowing nothing about the supermarket business, then spent two years finding a grocer to prepare a proposal. The company they settled on, Fresh Market, is an upscale grocer that opponents of the plan have said would not ease the region’s need for another supermarket.

“[The village] said we need a grocery store,” Mr. Glennon recalled. “Since then, the press has been all about this public opposition, which seems to very tiny and limited to people who have a personal interest or are dead set against any kind of development in the village. It’s disingenuous—they say WalMart will be next. Saying ‘WalMart’ in this town is like crying fire in a crowded theater.”

“Every time you build another shopping experience and pour concrete and asphalt, you are laying the foundation for the death of these special communities,” Mr. Wallach said, nodding to the local economy’s reliance on tourism. “I am not against development—I am a developer myself—but if you continue to disregard sound planning and development criteria, you kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

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Main reason for the opposition probably is "Fresh Market" is simply not a store where you shop for groceries if your annual gross income is less than 50k.

It's not a solution to the "need" for a "supermarket".

I can't put it any plainer than that.
By Mr. Z (11814), North Sea on Mar 14, 12 6:31 PM
The village has no business changing the zoning. If Mr. Glennon has car dealerships interested, then he should lease his property to them. I thought Glennon said he was unable to lease his property and therefore needed the zoning change. Even if he did, it's not the business of the government to satisfy
the needs or greed of one individual. This is a real mess created by the Mayor and Trustees of Southampton. They should be worrying about the pension and
benefit packages they have ...more
By localcitizen (110), Southampton on Mar 14, 12 7:35 PM
Whole Foods Rules !
By They call me (2824), southampton on Mar 14, 12 9:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wally, Take the money and run!
By patrickstar (67), hampton bays on Mar 15, 12 9:09 AM
2 members liked this comment
The real problem is the traffic on that corner. Grid lock at best most of the time in season! I wouldn't think of going near that corner.
By powerwalker (52), Southampton on Mar 15, 12 9:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
It obvious that the Mayor is in the pocket of Glennon. First the Mayor said that we need a supermarket yet none of the sites identified can hold a supermarket. Now he calls it a grocery store, Mr. Mayor a gocoery store is not a gourmet food shop which is what Fresh Markets is. We already have several of those.

Obviousely your continued commitment to a bad cause can only lead one to believe theat there is something in this for you. Is Glennon paying you off?? Probably your father in law ...more
By josh24687 (3), Southampton, NY on Mar 16, 12 12:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
Oh boy, PBR (Progressive By Religion) is on your side as if we all did not see that coming that. Lol.... Mitt 2012 because hope and change is B.S.
The free market is good, Business is good, capitalism is good. If you don't like it move to San Francisco and go down with the ship. Its time to take back this country from union control. There that last statement should get me censored right quick
By joe hampton (3457), south hampton on Mar 17, 12 6:41 PM
I love food markets, especially upscale fancy food places. Your right they all rip you off but you are incorrect.
First you need to learn how to be civil

Second if you like getting ripped off, guess you have a lot of moeny so why don;'t you buy the Glennon property??

Traffic may be bad but putting a fancy food market at the intersection of 39 adn 27 will only make things far worse. Image this, a truck is coming to make a delivery at the Fresh Market in teh summer, The traffic ...more
By josh24687 (3), Southampton, NY on Mar 16, 12 9:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
It just can't happen. A retail market is nowhere near the low traffic volume of a car dealership, which happens to be pretty much the only business that has operated there for as long as I can remember. Let's not allow what has happened to the post office/ Schmidts market debacle.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 17, 12 7:56 PM
I don't see how the proposed location will affect traffic less than the spot in tuckahoe. The interesction of the Glennon property is already a terrible bottleneck, why add to it, while the tuckahoe location would offer more (albeit slightly) relief. How much did Glennon donate to Epley's re-election campaign last cycle?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Mar 23, 12 1:56 AM