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Mall Expansion: Will It Help the Community? [Poll]

Walt Whitman Mall expansion brings construction, retail jobs, and accusations of elitism.

Walt Whitman Shops, formerly Walt Whitman Mall, is getting a along with its name change. But is it good for the community?

The upscale shopping destination's expansion will add 11 new stores with a total of 72,000 square feet of additional retail space, according to Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, the mall's owners. The project also calls for a pedestrian-friendly exterior streetscape, new landscaping, upgraded site lighting, 150 additional parking spaces, driveway reorientation, new traffic lights and a bus stop relocation to the south side of the property.

The project will bring in retail and construction jobs and enhance the allure of the upscale shopping destination. However, some Patch readers are concerned that the mall's owners are catering to an elite clientele as middle-income shops are squeezed out, and say its ever-soaring heights overshadow ongoing problems in Huntington Station.

Do you think the mall expansion will help the surrounding community? Vote in our poll or tell us in the comments.

Brian April 10, 2012 at 09:20 AM
Marjorie-your grandmother was or is a wise woman. With the addition of these stores you will be able to fly a kite in the mall parking lot as there will be plenty of empty parking spaces. Aside from the Apple Store and the six weeks before Christmas nobody shops there.
Frank H. April 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Walt Whitman mall or shops is a very successful shopping center. Personally I dont shop there to expensive for me. But good for the who do hope they enjoy the new stores. Dont really see how this is a bad thing.
Mary April 10, 2012 at 12:04 PM
New stores at a mall is always good. I'm with you Frank I barely shop there. I can't afford most of those stores. I remember when I couldn't shop at Macy's because it was the high end store, now that is the only store I can shop in. If that goes, I won't need to go there at all. I will be driving the extra 15 minutes to Smithhaven Mall.
Mary Z April 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Did anybody notice that the Tween/Tween stores have been closed? Is this permanent? Do they really think they will keep teens from shopping at the mall? Yes, I know these kids can be a problem, but this isn't going to do it! Believe it or not, some Moms and teens like to shop together! If the mall has nothing geared towards this age group, then we will be traveling to the Broadway Mall, Smithhaven or shopping online! Simon Malls needs to wake up and start listening to people!
JSC April 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I agree, the only store I've been to at the mall in the last 10-20 years is Macy's - and even that not very often. Oh, sorry, I did go into Lord and Taylor once for a Navy Ball dress for my daughter. Between a gift card someone had given me and going to the sale rack, I got the dress for literally nothing! Perhaps the upscaling of the mall will help our downtown businesses. Now, if the village could bring in some "everyday shopping" type stores, I'd be a happy camper! Enough with the pricey clothing and gift shops, enough with the bars and restaurants! We need stores to buy the things we use everyday. Or else KMart is starting to look pretty good!
kateacher April 10, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Miss "The Gap" being in town. Rumor was the landlord raised the rent too high. There used to be a shoe store next door. Jim had all of our shoe business. Around the corner was "Homemade Kids" and across the street was "Snow Goose". My children were so well-dressed but the rents became too high. Now we have food establishments where we feed dogs and people. It is absolutely disgusting for the following reasons: 1. I watched a dog urinate under a table as patrons were eating at Skippers. 2. I watched a dog defecate in front of that small place by the Sweet Shop. 3. I saw small tins with food in it on the ground for dog consumption, and this was on the same day that I watched a GIANT RAT walk right across Main St. at about 4:30 p.m. 4. You cannot walk down the street in Northport any longer. The dogs that are tied to tables either block the sidewalk or sniff at you. (Before you post a million pro dog messages - I have a dog. BUT SHE IS A DOG not a Human being) it is for this reason that I avoid Cow Harbor Day like the plague. 5. As much as I love the theatre the parking and traffic situation has caused a bit of a problem. I thing one of the churches could make a boatload of money by renting out their lot in the evenings for valet parking and on weeknights the parking behind the KOC would work. As I write this, I'm realizing how much I miss the REAL NORTHPORT.
Stacey P April 10, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Who do they think live within ten miles of here? Everyone I know in my neighborhood think it ia a major inconvenience to have lost Toys r Us and Barnes and Noble.
Dorian Stern April 10, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Though there is a degree of economic excitement with the undertaking of this project- I am curious about the selection of the upscale retailers. I believe it is being designed to attract an elusive and exclusive small percentage of high end shoppers- which doesn't truly reflect the demographics of the area. I am also concerned about the impact this large venue will have on the smaller retailers that are already struggling to maintain their visibility and loyalty with shoppers.
Jim R. April 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Unfortunately, people value dogs as much as humans. Maybe if we placed the same emphasis and care on people, this country wouldn't be so screwed as it is.
Rich Jacques (Editor) April 10, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Interesting thread here. Thanks for the feedback.
Cat Seasoned April 10, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Personally I think all malls should be closed, but that's just my opinion :) To think that this will offer jobs to the surrounding area is for the most part fallacy. The construction crews will be union most likely from out of state, and the employees in upscale stores will be selected from other areas as well, possibly experienced employees from those stores located in other locations. The mall property is owned by an Indianapolis company, why do we think we will be first considered for employment? To also bring more upscale stores to a financially-divided area, is elitism. We need a reality check. Not more high end stores. And lastly, 11 more stores, with only 150 more parking spots? The area of 110/25 is so congested and overcrowded now, to add 11 stores to an existing mall, and add just 150 parking spots, is lunacy. That would barely contain the employees at those stores, never mind shoppers. I wonder too how many of those 150 will be handicap accessible? Yeah...I didn't think so.
Lynda Olita April 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Forever 21 and H&M would be a great addition!
Jason Molinet April 10, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I'm sitting at the mall now. What would I do without Panera?
Mike D April 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
they're putting a Panera in village soon
Marie April 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
As a young teen, I watched the original Walt Whitman Mall open in my neighborhood many years ago. In the past several years, the many new stores that have taken over the mall are so overpriced that most of my friends cannot shop there, nor can I. We certainly don't need more of the same. Elitist? It certainly is.
susan April 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
and what does any of this have to do with the Walt Whitman mall? Oh excuse me Walt Whitman Shops?
susan April 11, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Very good point Dorian. I agree while it might add some jobs locally, these stores are not what we need in Huntington especially in this economic times. Who knows maybe Sears and Kohl's will get a boost out of it all
kateacher April 11, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Perhaps the upscaling of the mall will help our downtown businesses. Now, if the village could bring in some "everyday shopping" type stores, I'd be a happy camper! Enough with the pricey clothing and gift shops, enough with the bars and restaurants! <<<<<<<<<<<<< Is in response to susan
L.I.Karen April 11, 2012 at 07:29 PM
My favorite stores are gone - Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us, Coldwater Creek. When I'm at WW, I never go in the anchor stores. I don't like the merchandise and can't afford it anyway. I miss the long-defunct A & S. My favorite store now - Penney's.
Mary Z April 11, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Yes Lynda those shops would work quite well!
Jason Molinet April 11, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Barnes & Noble is a loss. So was Tower Records. But neither were really the mall...
kateacher April 11, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Lord and Taylor has fabulous suit and shoe sales. Even better when you have the coupon. I bought a $350.00 designer suit for $60.00 last week. The quality is fabulous and it is a year round suit. I actually enjoy the thrill of the hunt in the large upscale department stores! :)
Jackie O April 20, 2012 at 12:45 AM
The mall expansion helping the community....hmmm..my question is if the mall is contributing to the tax base in the south Huntington school district? For some reason I do not think it does. But that is ok, at least now the 900 middle school aged children who no longer have an after school sports program because the school district could not find $120,000 to save it, they can now all head over to the mall from 3-6 every day and find ways to occupy their time.
Larry May 04, 2012 at 08:48 PM
The mall is PRIVATE property. The owners can rent to WHOEVER they want - they don't OWE the local people a thing. I don't know where you get the idea that all the employees are brought in from elsewhere - my wife works at Saks, and she walks to work in less than 3 minutes. If the high end stores can make a profit, then they'll make a profit and stay. If they don't make a profit, they'll go bell-up and leave. If enough of them vanish, mall management will change its model and down-scale the tenants. It's the free market - there's NOTHING elite about it.
Larry May 04, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Not elitist at all. There are people who have higher than average incomes, and this mall is for them. If you're not satisfied with your income, strive to improve it - better that than trying to drag others down. Again, the mall is private property, they pay six to eight million dollars per year in property taxes, and they can do WHATEVER they want. This is the United States, not Cuba.
Larry May 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Simon pays over six million dollars per year in taxes on the Whitman property.
Kelly Anne June 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I recently purchased a home in South Huntington. I only shop at Macy's. Sometimes I like to walk through, browse, and then shop for a better deal online (with some of the other stores). More power to the individuals who can afford these things, make our town look nicer and contribute to our taxes. Less focus on this...more focus on beautifying New York Ave.
Mary Z June 27, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Hey Jackie, Middle School sports is back but the High School still has only 8 periods... Not good for those who need to get into a decent college and need the credits...
Mary July 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I do not like SLL the landscaping they took out! I recently moved here for the country look! So much parking, cement & tar- feel like I'm at crazy Roosevelt crowded Field again! Do I have to move again, further east? I hood they replant many trees & flowers again & fast!! The geese haven't been in the mall grounds! They were so happy there everyday, & we enjoyed watching them, like a real suburban area- NOT ANYMORE! :(. :( I hope they add some affordable stores! H&M, Forever 21, etc!!!! I never shop at this mall I LOVE MARSHALL'S!!!!
Carol Pooley July 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
All hail Marshalls!!!!

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