The owner of the building that houses Barnes & Noble on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset is once again applying to convert the building into a medical office in case the bookstore decides not to renew its lease.
Owner C&B Realty first did so in 2016, and had considered demolishing the building if Barnes & Noble decided to leave, but the bookstore renewed its lease until 2020.
The application, on which the Town of North Hempstead will hold a public hearing on April 9, would convert the property from a retail property to both a retail and medical property.
If the plan is approved, the property would require increased parking. It currently has a parking variance to accommodate a smaller than required parking lot.
Efforts to reach Barnes & Noble were unavailing.
The item was on the Town of North Hempstead’s March 19 agenda but was continued to allow the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations and Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey the opportunity to learn more about the issue.
“This has been ongoing for about three years now,” said the property’s attorney, Kathleen Deegan Dickson. “It’s been sort of waxing and waning with the Barnes & Noble’s plans for staying, for going, for closing for staying open.”
Christine Young, whose parents own the adjacent property, told the Town Board that her parents are opposed to the conversion of the site into a medical office.
Barnes & Noble patrons already try to park in spaces dedicated to her parent’s building, Young said. Plus, construction in the Barnes & Noble parking lot would affect their customers as well because they will have to drive in through one shared lane, she said.
“If you were to convert this to a medical facility, the construction is really going to create a hardship,” Young said. “We’re really fearful that we’re going to lose not one but multiple tenants, especially in this day and age when brick and mortar stores are suffering.”
C&B Realty would also need approval from the Village of North Hills to convert its building to a retail and medical site because part of the property is in the village’s jurisdiction.
Barnes & Noble has been at the location since 1996.
In 2016, the Town of North Hempstead gave approval for developers to convert the property into medical offices provided that it offered valet service and gained approval from the Village of North Hills.
Plans to demolish the building to create a medical office moved slowly because it would have required a parking variance, and Nassau County denied permits as it studied traffic on that section of Northern Boulevard.
By the end of the year, the plans that the town had approved were abandoned.
In May of last year, the Village of North Hills Zoning Board of Appeals granted approval for the property owner to expand its parking lot.
In November, the town renewed the property’s parking variance, which was first granted in June 2016.