GARDEN CITY – The Saks 5th Avenue top top Franklin way was among the final holdouts in downtown Garden City’s sleeve exodus, together stores ran indigenous the ever-growing shadow of surrounding Roosevelt ar mall. Now, 17 months after Saks, too, traction anchor, “No Trespassing” signs and also asbestos warnings period the glass entryways. The landscaping, when meticulously maintained, is overgrown with weeds.

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But Alfred Weissman, who Yonkers-based Alfred Weissman real Estate to buy the three-story building even before Saks closed, claimed all this will soon change. The promised a go back to the 115,000-square-foot building’s glory days, as soon as it was a magnet because that the area’s powerful and elite.

Instead of a tired and dated stone-and-metal exterior, renderings detail a chic brick building filled through windows, exterior moldings and awnings. Task architect man Seifert promises a “stunning lobby.”

The bottom level, which previously housed a spa and a cafeteria, will become a health and fitness facility through rehabilitation services, stated Michael Sahn, the Sahn, Ward & Baker companion representing Weissman. The 37,000-square-foot an are won’t it is in a “Gold’s Gym where people are lifting weights all day; it will be an ext of a high-end” gym training facility, Sahn promised.

The first floor, around 39,000 square feet as soon as filled with jewelry, cosmetics and men’s clothing, is being carved up for clinical offices, boutiques and also a high-end restaurant. The upper level, whereby cash registers rang up couture, is slated because that 45,000 square feet the offices.

At least, that’s the plan.

Some deals room close, yet “not close enough,” Weissman joked.

Even so, the transformation of what had become an eyesore excites locals.

“We think it will pay dividends for the village in general,” claimed Roger Eltringham, the angry president and incoming chairman of the Garden City room of Commerce.

“This is a an extremely smart move,” stated Paul Amoruso, a commercial genuine estate broker with Oxford & Simpson. “You don’t struggle a trend that has been beaten come death, that’s not working. Walk in the direction of what’s succeeded. Old retail has actually proven castle don’t job-related there.”

That wasn’t the case decades ago, as soon as Garden City’s retail-rich downtown was recognized as “Long Island’s 5th Avenue.” because that years, retailers drew shoppers from throughout the region. That slowly adjusted after Roosevelt field opened a half-century ago, giving dozens of choices under one roof and also plenty of parking.

Initially, shops such as Saks, mr & Taylor and also Bloomingdale’s continued to be downtown. But, the mall’s owners increased – the is currently one that the country’s biggest – and also got even more aggressive.

“Retailers are choose lemmings. They desire to be together,” said Eltringham. “Especially the means things have emerged over the years. They every flocked to Roosevelt Field.”

Unfortunately for downtown merchants, the mall sits simply off the highway, providing customers no reason to venture roughly Franklin Avenue. Furniture retailer W.J. Sloane and department stores including Abraham & Strauss and also Martin’s closed, dimming lot of the area’s cachet. In 1995, Bloomingdale’s traded that is downtown digs because that Roosevelt Field.

In 1998, Saks announced intentions to sign up with the mall. Yet community groups rallied against the relocation and the Town’s board of Zoning Appeals rebuffed it.

Saks retreated. Climate in 2004, Saks announced it would close Garden City after more than 4 decades.

Thanks come previous Saks ties, Weissman snap up the building before it struggle the market. He wouldn’t reveal the sales or remodeling prices.

Weissman stated he initially tried to lease the site to Crate & Barrel, Kohl’s, Linens N Things, Bed, bath & Beyond and also others. However “they every were of the opinion the retail had actually left Garden City,” Weissman recalled, including there to be “virtually no interest.”

The area roughly the building, however, is undergoing a renaissance. Lord & Taylor remians, but Garden City has actually reinvented itself together a jae won supermarket currently nicknamed lengthy Island’s “Wall Street.”

In its brand-new building at 1001 Franklin, because that example, The Albanese company inked transaction with home builders Bank, E*Trade financial Corp. And Wachovia Corp. Various other newcomers include, community National Bank and Countrywide Mortgage.

“It’s the means it’s type of evolved. The landlords may know that retail lends much more vibrancy top top a customer website traffic basis,” Eltringham said.

But “the financial species of entities,” that added, “are good, solid secure businesses.”

Of course, like any kind of savvy businessman, Weissman isn’t limiting himself to gaue won tenants.

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“We’re yes, really interested in a whole selection of users,” that said.