The first Kmart to come to Long Island soon won’t look anything like its historic past after a $20 million redevelopment project.
Elias Properties Management is spearheading the redevelopment of 1000 Montauk Highway in West Babylon, Newsday reported. Forthcoming changes to the building include a reduction in size and a redivision of space to increase capacity to five tenants, which could include retail stores, offices and restaurants.
The Town of Babylon has approved plans for the redevelopment of the 185,000-square-foot building. Once completed, the structure will be slightly fewer than 150,000 square feet, a drop of about 19 percent in size.
Major construction work is expected to begin in 2023, according to Newsday, and take eight months. New tenants welcomed during the property’s redevelopment will join a Dollar Tree location that was allowed to remain after subleasing from Sears Holding Corp. in 2016. Elias plans to relocate the retailer elsewhere in the building.
The building was formerly occupied by discount department store TSS-Seedman’s, which closed in 1989. Kmart opened in the space a year later, the first Long Island location for the company, according to Newsday. A Sears Appliance Outlet location also opened in the building.
But Sears Holding Corp. fell on hard times and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018, 13 years after Sears and Kmart merged. Transformco purchased the assets a year later and Kmart and Sears stores have been closing at a high clip ever since; the West Babylon Kmart closed in September 2018.
Long Island’s last Sears closed in October at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. Owner Urban Edge Properties was reported last month to have stopped renewing leases at the mall, and is expected to push for a redevelopment of the property after the tenants are gone.
Long Island’s last Kmart, meanwhile, is still hanging on in Bridgehampton.