A new chain store on the site of the old Plitt Ford dealership on the Montauk Highway in Wainscott is becoming a reality almost two years after the death of the principal owner of the property in a car crash just miles away.
A 15,000-square-foot Home Goods store, designed by the architect Peter Cook, will be constructed there, Mr. Cook said Tuesday. Home Goods specializes in home furnishings and is part of a larger corporation, TJX, which also owns Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Sierra Trading Post, according to the Home Goods website.
Mr. Cook has a small stake in the holding company that owns the property, Wainscott Retail. But the driving force behind the project was the late Gregg Saunders, who died when an Audi station wagon swerved across double yellow lines into the path of his Prius.
“This project was Gregg’s vision,” Mr. Cook said. “These four years of work are now coming to fruition, and will establish a gateway to Wainscott, which was his goal,” Mr. Cook said.
Site plan approval was obtained in 2012 for a new building on the 83,185-square-foot parcel, which is a few hundred feet west of Wainscott Northwest Road. The land is in a central business district and no variances were required.
Demolition of the old, rambling building, which had recently housed a patio furniture store and, before that, a branch of Whole Foods, began last week. Mr. Saunders had hoped to see Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s established there, Mr. Cook said, but the food chains doubted the viability of year-round operation.
Tom Preiato, the town’s chief building inspector, said Tuesday that the proposed building is poised to receive a building permit after it the town fire marshal gives its design an okay and the architectural review board approves the signs. He added that the permit was not contingent on whether the East Hampton Town Board adopts restrictions on chain, or formula, stores, after a public hearing on such restrictions tonight. “That is not going to matter. This is already an approved site plan,” he said.
Mr. Cook said all parking would be off-street, with Home Goods sharing a three-lane access road with La Campannina, to the east, and a second business. He did not anticipate much effect on traffic flow. Mr. Cook said he had shared the plans with the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee. “They were very pleased on the development of the property,” he said.
During a public hearing on the site plan, on March 7, 2012, only one speaker expressed concern. Barbara Miller feared that Wainscott Northwest Road might become a shortcut for drivers trying to avoid traffic jams during the summer season.
The entrance to the one-story store will be at the rear, facing the 98-space parking lot, which will have four spaces reserved for handicapped parking, and two spaces dedicated for trucks to load and unload. The building will be 22 feet from the property line on Montauk Highway.
Originally, the planning board had given its approval for a somewhat larger, 17,500-square-foot, structure; it was scaled back to 15,000 square feet last year.