Lowe’s Home Improvement is set to move into a massive Queens site after the plan received approval from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals this month.
The hardware giant signed a 15-year lease with Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, which owns the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center, sources said. The retailer will move into a 110,000-square-foot space replacing sections of a now-shuttered Macy’s and a cinema, MovieWorld, on the lower level. It will also require the removal of 100 parking spaces to expand the site, according to Jon Popin, the legal counsel for the shopping center.
The attorney said the exit of Macy’s was a sign of the threats to brick and mortar retail, and added that the shopping center is “very lucky” to have secured Lowe’s as the new anchor tenant.
“It would not have been an impossibility, but a major challenge to get a department store into that space,” Popin said.
The removal of the neighborhood cinema prompted rebuke by local residents at a Queens community board meeting in February. Despite the opposition, Queens Community Board 11 approved the company’s variance plan at that meeting, according to local news website QNS.com.
Residents weren’t the only headache for Ashkenazy. In January, Macy’s sued the landlord for a $1.5 early termination fee it says it was owed after being told to move out in April 2017 — nine months before its lease expired. Macy’s had been a tenant in the building since 1988. Ashkenazy bought the 300,000-square-foot shopping center in 2004 for $58.1 million.
Last week, the deal overcame its final hurdle and an approval was filed by the city’s BSA.
The Midtown-based Ashkenazy Acquisition, headed by Ben Ashkenazy and Michael Alpert, has been spreading its wings across New York real estate. In November, the firm purchased a minority stake in the Plaza Hotel and this week, The Real Deal reported that it was moving to buy the remaining stake in the building with a partner. Earlier this month, Ashkenazy picked up an AMC movie theater on the Upper West Side for $53 million.