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Sonic Owner Discusses Business Plan for East Meadow

Spencer Hart said he signed a 25-year lease because they are "very committed to the community."

Local residents quite possibly took a glimpse into the future Wednesday night as Spencer Hart shared his view of the proposed at the East Meadow Shopping Plaza during a public information meeting at

Hart, who owns Long Island’s only Sonic in North Babylon, has signed a 25-year least Nassau County’s first Sonic at the space formerly occupied by Rita’s Ices at 1900 Hempstead Tpke. in East Meadow.

“We’re very committed to the community,” Hart said. “If we’re going to succeed, the community has to succeed.”

Not only does Hart say that Sonic will benefit from the location near the busy intersection of East Meadow Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike, he added that other tenants in the center could benefit as well from Sonic’s presence.

“We think we’ll be good for the center,” Hart said. “We hope to bring business to the other tenants.”

Hart added that some of the vacancies in the center could also be addressed with Sonic’s arrival. He said Sonic had that effect in North Babylon.

“We think that our presence could help fill some of those vacancies and make it a little more of an attractive center for other businesses to come to,” he added.

Before Sonic can move forward with its plans, Sonic officials must present to the Hempstead Town Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on March 7 at 2 p.m. The first two hearings at the request of the due to concerns of “numerous violations.”

“We’re obviously aware that there’s a bunch of violations in that broader center,” Hart said. “These have nothing to do with us, but we’ve been in dialogue with the landlord. He is very focused on it, has hired a contractor and is working on addressing [the violations.]”

Hart added that he’s committed to beautifying the area, and Sonic’s plan includes new landscaping that would take place on site at the location and along Hempstead Turnpike.

“We think that Sonic and East Meadow could be great partners,” Hart said. “East Meadow would be a great home for us for a long time and we’d like to see that happen.”

Patch will be breaking down how Sonic officials addressed traffic, clutter and other issues in the coming days. Are you in favor of Sonic coming to East Meadow? Tell us in the comments.

Jenn March 01, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I have been open to Sonic from the beginning, and nothing that happened last night has changed that - in fact, it has just confirmed and reinforced my thoughts to begin with.
paul March 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM
From a community stand point it appears to be a done deal. As far as the town, BZA etc those are the next steps and should be routine and will take its course. Good things will happen in the area if given a chance..... My best wishes to Sonic on the East Meadow venture. I know you picked the correct location. It is exactly where it should be.......
Christopher March 01, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I will be extremely happy when the store opens. It will revitalize the area and provide much needed tax revenue. I still can not believe the resistance that some people have towards this project. I do not think I have ever seen it on such a scale for a restaurant. I guess some people's personal agendas can get out of control.
Douglas R Wood Sr March 01, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I support the opening of Sonic. It will help to revitalize that whole area. It is a big plus for East Meadow. Go for it!
Frank T March 01, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Good luck Sonic. Hopefully construction will begin soon.
Diana Carannante March 01, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I think it is a good idea, we need to bring some business back to East Meadow. it is terrible to drive past there and see all those empty stores. The lot s big enough
Chuck March 02, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Sorry for the repost, meant to post here first.... A friend of mine who was at the meeting did say that the people from Sonic did a real terrific job on all of the community concerns about Sonic being in the neighborhood. He also told me that questions from the audience were unusual and were grasping at straws to say no. Did someone really mention that Sonic may cause jaywalking across Hempstead Tpk to get to Sonic from the park? Sorry I missed the comedy.......
Ed March 03, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Sonic will not only cause more traffic it also going to cause less parking for business in that shopping center due to fact that people will get there food and then go park in a open space and eat which means someone that wants to park and go shop can't find spot Sonic go find better location
Rebecca March 04, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I'm very happy to have Sonic in this center and in East Meadow! Now we just need the rest of that center filled up with storefronts. And Ed - for the love of all that's holy, would you stop making up lies with no basis in fact?
Susan March 04, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Since Ed seems determined to repost his ridiculous statements about Sonic with every Sonic article, then I will repost my factual comment here as well. Ed, the possible traffic concerns on East Meadow Avenue were addressed at last Wednesday evening's meeting with the Sonic owners. They said that even though the traffic OUTSIDE the shopping center was technically not Sonic's problem, they did promise to monitor the situation as needed and notify the County about any traffic issues. It would be up to the County to make changes. Can the traffic be any worse with Sonic then it was years ago when the Plaza was filled with open stores, tons of shoppers, AND a movie theater??? I doubt it except for maybe when they first open. I think once the novelty of having Sonic here wears off, traffic will be back to normal. Btw, there is not going to be an entrance or exit to Sonic on Hempstead Tpke. The entrance and exits to Sonic will be from within the shopping center itself. But as I stated before, I just don't understand why everyone thinks this is their business. Sonic will be great for East Meadow. Empty stores are horrible for the neighborhood and our property values. People don't want Sonic but all those big yellow "Cash for Gold" signs waving all of over the place, they don't mind??? We will soon need erect a new East Meadow sign that says "East Meadow ~ Pawn Capital of Long Island." It's digusting! That is not the kind of business our neighborhood needs.
Jeanne Shea Herring March 06, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Sorry if this is a repeat. I'm not sure my post went through right. My husband and I attended the Sonic meeting at the high school. Before attending the meeting we were both against it. I now think it would be good for our community.It sounds like Sonic is going to do alot to beautify that dreary shopping center. I was impressed when the owner stated that they were going to plant many trees and shrubs. They also promise to put new irrigation system and sidewalks. I spoke to the property manager of the modells plaza and ask him if they could fix up the corner of East Meadow Ave and Hempstead Turnpike. That area is a focal point for East Meadow. I found it disgusting that dead plants and shrubs were left in their for years. The manager told me that there was no irrigation. Maybe now the property manager and owner can tap into the irrigation system Sonic will be putting in. I really don't think it should cost that much. I'm sure the stores that are there are paying hefty rents.
det2659 March 19, 2012 at 01:47 PM
A resounding "BOO" for those on the Stone Age Zoning Board. First a redeveloped Nassau Coliseum and now a Sonic, both doomed. I feel the entire zoning board, as well as inner working of Hempstead Town should be looked at a bit more closely. Who do they bend toward and why? And you'll never get the truth in Newsday either.
paul March 22, 2012 at 02:39 AM
The official release by the BZA has not yet been distributed. As stated by another writer it was not yet typed up for mailing. I was given the same response today in person at the TOH. If the decision is something that can be reasonably appealed I am pretty sure an attempt will be made. Keep writing/blogging all your positive comments. The right people are reading them... When an official response is received please feel let the BZA know how you feel....

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