At Tuesday's Village of Port Washington North meeting, one thing became clear. Soundview Marketplace is losing tenants. And of particular concern, a lease dispute may drive Clearview Soundview Cinema out of the shopping center, meaning the complex would lose an anchor tenant, and Port Washington may become a one cineplex town, village officials said.
The theater's departure, however, is not necessarily imminent, said Port North Mayor Robert S. Weitzner. "Concerns about the lease not being renewed have circulated for at least two years," Weitzner said. Calls to Clearview Cinemas corporate office in Chatham, New Jersey, and to Armstrong Capital, the New York-based landlord that owns Soundview Marketplace, were not returned.
Still, a parting is not necessarily surprising. Blockbuster and Mace's Closeout City have shut down. Wachovia will also close its doors, and Little Gym is moving to Syosset. And the building where the old Carvel once stood – before it relocated elsewhere in the plaza – is to be torn down.
"What does a village do?" Weitzner asked. "Continue to try to make it as clean as possible? Should we be playing hardball? An 'anchor' tenant is leaving. The shopping center is falling apart at the seams. We've tried anything we can do to make the place look as good as we can. Irrigation and beautification requests, replacing the parking lines, realistic drainage."
Weitzner added that the village has tried to work continuously with the landlord, and negotiated a settlement to decrease their taxes, reimbursing them upwards of $50,000.
He noted that the landlord is "tough to work with." And though the board has met with the landlord and the landlord's attorneys, proposals that were discussed were not carried out. There is even a paper trail of proposals, but no progress from the other side.
That's not to say the plaza has not seen new business. Bellisimo Pizzeria has moved in to the spot once occupied by Cheeburger Cheeburger.
In other news: one resident from Marlin Lane spoke about a diseased and rotted tree. The board had recently sent an arborist to investigate the tree and determined that it is in fact "diseased" and they have voted to have the tree taken down and replaced.
A lot of talk focused around a resident that had been dumping his roof
water through two pipes behind Ace Hardware. He had been issued a violation, but if he does not come up with a solution in seven days, he will be summonsed.
A "no jumping, diving, swimming or alcoholic beverages" sign will be posted at the new Village pier, at the recently renovated Baywalk Park in an effort to curtail nighttime loitering. And no dogs will be allowed off a leash in the village of Port Washington North, either.
Street lighting maintenance is in effect and all light bulbs will be replaced. The mayor's office also plans to update the town website to make it more up-to-date and user-friendly.
Adina Genn contributed to the reporting.