Peninsula Shopping Center, all 70,000-square-feet of it, stretches from Mill Road to Harris Avenue and Gibson Boulevard along Peninsula Boulevard in Hewlett. The center built in 1959 serves as a gateway to the Five Towns.
For nearly three years Woodmere-based Basser-Kaufman has owned the center that includes roughly 20 storefronts after buying the property from HST Realty for $27 million. In March 2016, renovations began and are now nearly complete, according to Steve Kaufman, one of the principals.
“We began remodeling and updating and figuring out the feel of the market,” Kaufman said, as he sat with partner Marc Kemp and a Herald reporter at a table in Marinara Pizzeria & Restaurant, one of the businesses in the center. “It was more disruptive that we thought.”
Renovations included a completely new façade that stretches the length of the storefronts from Moca Asian restaurant to the Foodtown supermarket. The building roof was replaced; an employee parking lot was created in the back adding 85 spaces for a total of 343 parking spots. Landscaping work is continuing and the signs will be refurbished. Four stores are unoccupied, Kemp said.
“We want people to have a better shopping experience,” Kemp said. “We will be doing this for a long time, and want to get it right.”
Doing it right includes having complementary stores. The Foodtown drives the center and attracts people as the anchor store, Kemp said. Then the other businesses, whether it is Ace Hardware, Auhvas Grill that serves kosher food, Bagel Boss, Carvel, Lorenzo’s Haircutting, the nail salon, a kosher meat store, Matty’s Toy Store, Petland Discounts, Sneaker Warehouse, TBS Electronics or T-Mobile, serves the patrons’ needs.
“We want to give people a reason to shop here,” Kaufman said, “so I say check us out.”
The vacant lot at the intersection of Peninsula Boulevard and Mill Road remains an eyesore, Kaufman said. Once a gasoline station, it was targeted to be a Burger King. Calls to New York-based Philips International, whose sign hangs on the cyclone fencing, were not returned by press time.