Kimco Realty, which owns the Bridgehampton Commons, is hoping to make way for a new discount retailer in the 220,000-square-foot shopping center, which would offer men more options when it comes to clothing and shoes.
An application to expand the T.J. Maxx building by 17,000 square feet to add a Marshalls is nearly ready for public review. The proposal is currently before the Southampton Town Planning Board, which will discuss it again next Thursday at 2 p.m., but it will also require variances from the town zoning board.
T.J. Maxx currently occupies about 33,000 square feet. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx would split the finished 50,000-square-foot space. The plan would increase the square footage of the shopping center, which sits on about 30 acres, by about 6 percent.
TJX Companies owns both T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, both of which offer off-price apparel and home fashions, and also operates HomeGoods in Wainscott. According to Nicholas Brown, vice president of development of Kimco Realty in the Northeast, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls — together known as Marmaxx — have different offerings. “The brands are distinguished in terms of who they target,” he said by phone this week. Marshalls offers more junior apparel, family footwear, and men’s apparel, while T.J. Maxx carries additional designer labels, he said.
The expansion of the building would happen to its rear, toward Marders, and a back door would be added for access. “Offsite parking,” Mr. Brown said, would run along the boundary of the property, adding 85 more spaces, enough, he said, to provide adequate parking for the addition. The shopping center currently has 1,253 spaces.
Based on parking, Mr. Brown said, the shopping center is underutilized during peak hours, with only 70 percent of the spaces occupied, according to traffic studies. Existing parking in back of the stores is generally not used.
The proposal needs site plan approval from the planning board, as well as several variances, including parking, setback relief (because an existing canopy on the side of the building would be extended), and a lot coverage variance. The shopping center is at 24.5 percent for lot coverage, Mr. Brown said, and the expansion would add an additional 1.4 percent. Twenty percent is permitted.
The proposal, which has been in the works for the better part of a year, has already drawn attention from the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee. Peter Wilson, a member of the committee, said Bridgehampton is still facing a possible 100,000-square-foot commercial space across the street from the Commons at the property known as the Bridgehampton Gateway. “Why should we encourage this expansion? Where do we stop?” he asked at a recent meeting.
Julie Burmeister, a committee member who has been keeping tabs on the proposal, encouraged other members to write letters when a public hearing is scheduled in the coming months.
Since the expansion is at the rear of the shopping center, the visual impact from Montauk Highway is minimal, Mr. Brown said, adding that additional landscaping is planned along Snake Hollow Road.
Speaking of landscaping, an area of shrubs between Montauk Highway and the parking lot was cleared some time last year, to the ire of the Bridgehampton advisory committee, which complained to town officials. Mr. Brown explained that portions of the landscaping were indeed removed or pruned by those who were unaware that covenants in a previous site plan required the buffer. An agreement for restoration was reached last fall, he said. Some of the landscaping has already been restored along the west side of the shopping center, and the rest will be reinstalled in coming weeks when weather permits.
The Commons is also working on leasing Radio Shack’s soon-to-be empty space. Asked what Kmart’s future is in the Commons — a question raised by advisory committee members following news that its parent company, Sears Holdings, could be facing bankruptcy — Mr. Brown said, “Kmart still currently has a lease with us. We’re continuing to monitor the situation.”