STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Work on the $10 million project to upgrade Forest Avenue Shopping Plaza — that will be anchored by LA Fitness — could begin before the end of the month.
The facade upgrade of the now ailing shopping plaza — a 191,000-square-foot commercial complex — includes a 34,000-square-foot LA Fitness in a vacant storefront formerly occupied by National Wholesale Liquidators, which closed in 2009.
The project, which includes painting the entire shopping center in “modern colors” and new signage, is expected to be complete by the end of the year or early 2016, said Joshua Weinkranz, president, northeast region of Kimco Realty Corp., which owns six Staten Island shopping plazas, including the soon-to-be-developed “Boulevard” in New Dorp.
“LA Fitness is going to try to be open for New Year’s because that’s a key time for that industry. The facade upgrades and construction of LA Fitness will start in the next couple of weeks. …It’s a good shot the work will begin before the end of July,” he said.
“We are excited about this project. The center itself has had a tough time over the past couple of years since National Wholesale Liquidators left. Bringing LA Fitness to the shopping center is certainty an upgrade and with the facade improvements and additional tenants it will really put that center back to its proper place on Staten Island,” he added.
There are currently 21 retailers in the shopping center and five vacant storefronts.
“No retailers have signed leases yet, but we are negotiating with three different tenants to take blocks of space in line next to where LA Fitness is going,” he said. “They will be national name brand tenants.”
With many of the retailers in the shopping plaza considered discount stores, Kimco is trying to add a “mix” of merchants.
“We are hoping that with LA Fitness, we will be able to bring a slightly different mix of retailers to the property,” said Weinkranz, noting all the existing retailers are planning to remain in the complex.
He noted that the center offers “blocks of space,” where vacant storefronts can be combined.
“We tried to have blocks of space on purpose so we have flexibility to either rent to smaller stores or combine them into larger stores. There are two vacant spaces directly next to LA Fitness that we can combine to get close to 10,000 square feet. There are also three stores all in a row closer to T.J. Maxx that we can lease independently to get close to 15,000 square feet,” he said.