North Sea Road Commercial Study by Gibbs Planning Group, made at the request of the Southampton Association, August 2016.
Gibbs Planning Group has been asked by the Southampton Association to review the proposed rezoning of the North Sea Road to permit retail and restaurant land uses, as recommended in the Nelson, Pope and Voohis, LLC (NPV) March 3, 2016 report. This memorandum is intended to provide an independent third part professional planning opinion of NPV’s findings and the potential impacts of the commercial rezoning on the Village’s existing historic downtown’s commercial sustainability.
Gibbs Planning Group finds NPV’s proposed rezoning of the North Sea Road/Windmill Lane area from a primarily office business district to retail; and office district will adversely impact the Village’s historic downtown district business district (Main Street, Jobs Lane and Hampton Road). The rezoning of the nearly one mile corridor will likely create an un-walkable suburban type commercial district that takes market share and retailers from the downtown, significantly increasing traffic congestion and negatively impacting surrounding residential areas.
NPV March 3 North Sea Road-Windmill Lane Report Observations:
- Retail Market Demand: GPG’s 2013 Southampton Village Retail Market Analysis found a potential demand of up to 114,580 Square feet of additional retail and restaurant space yielding up to $50 million in sales by 2017 (109, 120 sq ft in 2012). GPG found this new demand could be absorbed by the development of new retail-restaurant space or with existing businesses through improved operations, marketing and sales. This retail demand also represents an approximately 25 percent of the Village’s existing downtown commercial space. NPV’s 2016 retail market (gap) analysis found a demand for 172,266 additional square feet of commercial This study is based on a ten minute drive-time trade area and assumes 100 percent capture of the trade area’s retail expenditures. GPG finds the NPV trade area boundary extends too far west and that 100 percent capture of its potential spending is unrealistic and not in accordance with general accepted market research industry standards.
- Office Demand: NPV quotes Cushman and Wakefield research indicating light demand for smaller class B office in Nassau and Suffolk Counties but doesn’t indicate specific office demand for Southampton. Cushman did report a stronger demand for Class A office designed to appeal to tech industries. GPG’s earlier (2013) research and interviews with local real estate developers and brokers indicated a strong demand for professional office space in Southampton.
- Retailer Size: NPV recommends small 4,000 to 5,000 square foot commercial buildings along the North Sea Road-Windmill Lane study areas. GPG finds these small retailers can likely be accommodated in the Village’s downtown area within existing properties or underutilized public parking areas.
- Commercial Plan: NPV proposes generous setbacks and on-site parking for the study area’s new retail development. These restrictions will create numerous free-standing commercial destinations built in an un-walkable landuse pattern. Visitors-shoppers will be required to drive between each business resulting in significant vehicular traffic and a general suburban scale that doesn’t reinforce the region’s unique village character.
- Impact on Residential: Retail and restaurant use produce great traffic, trash, noise and light generally resulting in greater negative impacts on residential than office. GPG finds the development of retail along the study areas will have a greater adverse impact on the existing surrounding residential than the existing office zoning.
- Alternative Residential Landuses: If the development of market rate office (as presently zoned) proves unrealistic, GPG recommends the Village consider rezoning The North Sea Road-Windmill Lane study area for compatible residential landuses. This residential could be planned in walkable medium density clusters with minimum impacts on surrounding residents. Given the region’s existing strong residential market demand and values, property planned new residential development could potentially equal or out-perform existing commercial land values and provide additional households to support the downtown businesses.
August 16, 2016