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Jun 10, 2016 10:18 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Planning Board Approves Shopping Center In Former Bowling Alley

Westhampton Beach Planning Board Chairman Victor Levy. BY ERIN MCKINLEY
Jun 14, 2016 5:14 PM

The Westhampton Beach Planning Board has signed off on long-stalled plans to convert the gutted Sunset Avenue bowling alley building into a shopping center, one that will most likely be anchored by a new CVS Pharmacy.

The board voted, 4-0, in favor of the project last Thursday night, June 9, with member Ralph Neubauer absent from the meeting.

Plans for the property, which have been on and off the table for the past decade, call for the renovation of the existing structure and the construction of two new buildings on the property—work that will be completed in three phases. It is unclear when the work will actually begin.

Last week’s decision marks the final approval for the project and comes several months after the Village Board approved a special exception permit allowing the property owner, Manhattan-based Sunset West LLC, to build a 10,000-square-foot store that is expected to eventually be leased to CVS. The permit was required as the code caps the size of individual stores in the village’s downtown business district at 3,000 square feet.

“We are very happy that the village approved the project,” said Southampton-based attorney John Bennett, who is representing the applicant. “My client was pleased.”

Phase one of the work will include kick-starting renovations to the existing 20,000-square-foot bowling alley, which will include the 10,000-square-foot retail store, a 50-seat restaurant, two wet use shops, and three retail stores. As part of that phase of work, Sunset West LLC must install landscaping on the northern side of the 1.8-acre property, which will eventually house the two additional structures. The developer will also be responsible for burying power lines along the west side of Sunset Avenue.

Phase two will see a new 6,000-square-foot building, while a third 1,500-square-foot building will be constructed during the third and final phase.

Sunset West LLC is also required to submit a trash disposal plan to the village, ensure that there is a 10-foot transitional area between the parking lot and the nearby residential neighborhood, secure approval of any material changes throughout construction, and ensure that six planned storefronts—three on each side of the main entrance to the CVS—have access to a shared loading and dumpster area.

This week, Westhampton Beach Building Administrator Paul Houlihan said he thinks the project will be a good way to extend the downtown business district, noting that most people now gravitate toward Main Street. The recent opening of a Best Market almost directly across the street from the bowling alley has helped attract more people to the eastern side of Sunset Avenue.

Mr. Houlihan also noted that the refurbished bowling alley will be the first new commercial building constructed under the guidelines of the village’s 2006 comprehensive plan, which includes new design standards, such as requiring the burial of power lines and capping the size of stores at 3,000 square feet. He noted that the 2006 update was inspired after CVS indicated that it was interested in opening a 20,000-square-foot store somewhere in the village in the early 2000s.

“The original plan was like a mini shopping center, but now they have changed it to include the CVS,” Mr. Houlihan said. “It will look more like Main Street.”

Representatives from CVS did not return calls seeking comment this week.

According to Mr. Houlihan, Sunset West LLC will have six months, starting with its June 9 approval, to secure a building permit, and 18 months to complete construction on phase one or else the approval will expire. On Tuesday, Mr. Houlihan said a building permit had not been issued yet, but that he has been in contact with company representatives.

“It has been a long process to get it to where it could be approved,” Planning Board Chairman Victor Levy said this week. “The applicant did a good job on meeting some of the issues that the Planning Board had … I certainly hope the project will move forward now.”

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Changes coming for Westhampton.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Jun 10, 16 3:06 PM
Thank goodness!
By Hambone (514), New York on Jun 13, 16 8:46 AM
Hello! westhampton doesn't need another pharmacy. there is one right on main street. Maybe it should be a place where people want to go such as a bowling alley!
By hendrixexperience (6), East Quogue on Jun 11, 16 6:43 AM
3 members liked this comment
Funny there was a bowling alley there and it was economically unviable. For the most part I agree that variety would be good but the short of it is Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" is right.
By Hambone (514), New York on Jun 13, 16 8:47 AM
UGH! And they wonder why there's suck a drug problem in WHB...Where do the kids go, shopping?lol
By LI native (127), LI on Jun 11, 16 9:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
Backroom deals and payoffs at its best! smh :/
By Jaws (245), Amity Island on Jun 12, 16 8:36 AM
I thought marijuana started people on the road to heroin.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on Jun 13, 16 9:14 AM
You thought wrong, very wrong. Patients are prescribed painkillers for what ales them. When the MD thinks what ails them is gone, he stops prescribing pills. Patient wants more of the nice little pills that make you feel good. On the street that pill is $10. Heroin is cheaper! Did you read that right? Yes you did, heroin is cheaper.
Marijuanna turns people to heroin like beer turns people to Mad Dog 20/20 alkies along with the gutter they lay in.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 16 12:57 PM
Fitting that they need 3 pharmacies in that town. It's on life support.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 13, 16 11:01 AM