A Westhampton Beach property owner is moving forward with plans to construct a new building that could house up to three new businesses on Main Street.
Barry Bernstein, who owns the land on the corner of Main Street and Library Avenue in the village, has submitted an application that seeks to construct a roughly 3,000-square-foot building on his property, which measures just under a quarter of an acre. Although nothing is official, Mr. Bernstein said he is in the process of recruiting a tapas restaurant, which would serve Mediterranean cuisine, and two women’s boutiques for his new retail space.
According to Westhampton Beach Building and Zoning Administrator Paul Houlihan, Mr. Bernstein submitted an application to his office on November 16. He added that the application has not been approved yet, as Mr. Bernstein must submit some final paperwork for review. Still, Mr. Houlihan said he does not foresee any issues with the application.
Mr. Bernstein said he hopes to secure approval from the Westhampton Beach Planning Board sometime next month.
“I am very excited,” he said this week. “I think that the real estate market is improving and Westhampton is on an upswing.”
Mr. Bernstein, who has owned the property for 10 years, said he remains hopeful that the project can move forward soon and expects to be able to start construction in the next few months. He added that the property is a prime location within the village, and he hopes to be able to draw a wide variety of customers. The property is in the village’s B-1 District, an area that encompasses Main Street and permits retail shops, real estate stores and restaurants.
“It is a very desirable location, because it is a corner property and right next to the library,” he said, referring to the Westhampton Free Library. “A lot of people can stop in.”
The property in question has been vacant for several years, according to Mr. Houlihan. He explained that it was once the site of State Department of Environmental Conservation remediation project after it was learned that a former gas station operating on the lot had been leaking fuel into the ground. The site, according to Mr. Houlihan, has since been cleaned and, since April 2006, has been safe to build on. “There is no longer a problem with the property,” he said.
While he hopes his plan for the Mediterranean restaurant pans out, Mr. Bernstein said he still has other options. For example, he said he could still possibly attract a kosher bakery to the village, one that could cater to the area’s Jewish community, though little progress has been made on that front recently.