Whitman Shops Makeover Complete
The grand re-opening of the Walt Whitman Shops, a milestone 18 months in the making, has finally arrived. On Thursday, Nov. 21, the shops will kick off a four-day celebration that will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the unveiling of a bronze statue of Walt Whitman, the famous poet and humanist the mall is named after.
The grand re-opening festivities will run from Nov. 21-24, when the shops will showcase live entertainment, “prize-an-hour giveaways” and food and beverage samples for shoppers.
The 70,000 square-foot renovation and expansion, according to Walt Whitman Shops spokesman Kevin Ryan, added more than 500 jobs to the Huntington Station area, as a result of both the construction and the addition of 12 new retail stores created in the mall space.
Since the project broke ground last year, more than 30 new retailers joined the 160 Walt Whitman Road shopping destination, including several restaurants and “exclusive” brands, some of which opened their first Long Island store at the newly renovated shops. Among the list of new retail destinations are Kate Spade, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, BOSS Hugo Boss and Triumph; dining additions include Brio Tuscan Grille, Zinburger and CUPS Frozen Yogurt.
The only store that will not be open for business following the Nov. 21 grand re-opening is P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, which is slated to open sometime in December.
Beyond the significant aesthetic improvements to the mall’s exterior, particulary the side facing Route 110, the inside experienced somewhat of a transformation as well. Retail anchors such as Bloomingdale’s underwent an extensive interior makeover which was completed in September, and spatial, visual improvements were made throughout the inside space.
The culmination of new interior amenities – including “comfortable soft seating areas,” a new “Center Court” area (which moved the stand-alone Starbucks to a nearby storefront), restroom improvements, accent lighting, new skylights and a new color scheme for the walls and floors – in addition to the “pedestrian-friendly” streetscaping project, marks a new era for the Walt Whitman shopping destination.
“After intensive planning and construction process over the past 18 months, we are thrilled to officially recognize and celebrate the grand re-opening of the Walt Whitman Shops with the community,” said Deborah Weber, general manager at the shops.
The statue featured at the mall entrance near Saks Fifth Avenue is an ode to Walt Whitman, who grew up in West Hills and whose poem “Leaves of Grass” was engraved along the mall’s exterior before the renovation began in mid-2012.