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Feb 23, 2016 3:43 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Beach Supermarket Opening Most Likely Pushed Back At Least Two Months

Waldbaum's in Westhampton Beach is currently in the process of being converted into a new Best Market supermarket, which should open sometime in late Spring. GREG WEHNER
Feb 24, 2016 12:49 PM

The long-anticipated opening of a new Best Market supermarket in Westhampton Beach, tentatively planned for April, is most likely going to be pushed back two months—if not longer—due to delays in the planning process.

Or Raitses, the vice president of the Bethpage-based supermarket chain, said this week that officials are waiting for the Westhampton Beach Village Planning Board to approve requested modifications to a decade-old site plan for the property. That document was filed in 2006 by the now-bankrupt Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in New Jersey, which had operated the old Waldbaum’s from the same location prior to its closing this past fall.

Once those changes are approved, which is not expected until March at the earliest, demolition crews can begin gutting the former Waldbaum’s on Sunset Avenue, Mr. Raitses said. That work will include knocking down part of the wall now separating the 24,500-square-foot supermarket from the adjoining 5,000-square-foot building that once housed National’s.

The entire process, including the completion of interior renovations, is expected to take about two months to complete, meaning that the original April opening date is no longer realistic.

“Our goal was to be opened for the [summer] season, and get open as soon as possible,” said Mr. Raitses, noting that they had originally planned on opening their doors in Westhampton Beach on April 15. “The more meetings that pass, the less likely that will happen.”

At this point, Mr. Raitses said the new Best Market probably will not open until late spring or even early summer.

The new supermarket will measure nearly 30,000 square feet, meaning it will be nearly double the size of the next closest Best Market that is located off Route 58 in Riverhead.

Plans call for the partial demolition of the wall that separates the main building from the smaller one that sits just to the north.

“That is a shear wall that gives the building rigidity,” Westhampton Beach Village Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan said. “They just can’t take it down. Instead of taking it out completely, they are thinking of taking out some sections of it.”

Best Market also plans to place the Westhampton Beach supermarket’s main entrance where the National’s building now stands, while the exit doors will be situated where the front doors to Waldbaum’s are now located.

According to Mr. Houlihan, the plans for the property are moving along. Best Market officials met with the Westhampton Beach Architectural Review Board on February 16 and presented new elevations, calculations and changes that they wanted to make to the property’s drainage and lighting. Board members supported the changes, but insisted that steps be taken to clean up the rear of the building.

Additionally, according to Mr. Houlihan, Village Planner Kyle Collins thought the parking lot could use more green areas and a cart management plan.

Both the village’s planning and architectural review boards still need to sign off on the company’s plans before work can begin on the supermarket.

Staller Associates in Hauppauge owns and manages both buildings that will be occupied by the new supermarket. Mr. Raitses noted that the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company renewed its lease in 2005, and that his company has assumed that agreement, which will not expire for at least 30 years.

Best Yet Market, which currently operates 20 supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, was the winning bidder at $4 million during bankruptcy proceedings initiated by Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.

“We are really excited to be coming to Westhampton Beach,” Mr. Raitses said. “I’ve had conversations with the mayor and the Planning Board and they view the supermarket as an asset. It’s been a burden to the community to have to travel to other supermarkets.

“We look forward to serving everyone in the Westhampton Beach area,” he added.

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This store has stepped up! Organics, flowers, amazing meats, can't wait
By LI native (127), LI on Feb 23, 16 8:56 PM
The best meats in that town are from Justins Chop Shop. Great food great service.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Feb 23, 16 11:15 PM
This has been a very long wait already and having to wait even longer is not a happy thought. The inconvenience is hard to get used to. There will be a lot of gratitude and rejoicing when this store finally opens.
By Fabiola (11), Southampton on Feb 24, 16 9:26 AM
An important fact was omitted from this article. Best Market chose not to proceed with the previously filed site plan. It submitted a revised version to the Planning Board for its February 11, 2016 meeting. Its application for a demolition permit for interior work was submitted on February 23, 2016, and the Building Department issued the permit the very next day. The Planning Board, ARB and Building Department have done everything in their power to move this application along.
By Mayor Moore (10), Westhampton Beach on Feb 25, 16 7:55 AM
I'm glad they are asking for a cart management plan. We used to have cart corrals, but it seems they have been gone for at least 20 years, and I never understood why they were taken away. It was ridiculous that carts used to be left floating all over the lot, where they could collide with cars.
By NinaK (2), Quiogue on Feb 25, 16 12:41 PM
I remember an article right after Best Yet won the bid saying there were looking to open late spring or early summer at the earliest. April really doesn't fit that timeline very well...
By BillSkoros (2), East Quogue, New York on Feb 28, 16 10:59 PM
I am glad to hear a plan for more greenery in the parking lot. That is as sorely needed as the interior upgrade. A new facade would be great too.
By KarenFar (5), Westhampton on Mar 5, 16 5:37 PM