MANHASSET, N.Y. — “It’s like when the U.S. added California as a state. This finishes off our coast.”
That was Peter Marino, master planner for Americana Manhasset, assessing the new 40,000-square-foot designer wing on the east end of the shopping center here. It was officially launched Wednesday morning, with a crowd of 400, including executives and retail managers from designer brands operating stores in the center, models flaunting the labels, local politicians and shoppers attending the ribbon cutting.
“Peter’s vision imagined 18 years ago substantially is what you see here today,” said Frank Castagna, chairman of Castagna Realty and developer of the property. The wing, with its limestone, granite and glass facades, providesa look truer to Madison Avenue than to anything on the suburban retail landscape. It’s also the single largest change in the history of the Americana Manhasset. The wing houses Christian Dior, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Gucci on the north side, and Coach, St. John and Brooks Bros. on the south side.
“This is something that uplifts us all. It’s a great gift,” said Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.
Others in the crowd were James van Sweden, from landscape architect Oehme van Sweden, which landscapes the center; Burberry president Eugenia Ulasewicz; Brooks Bros. chairman Claudio Del Vecchio and chief operating officer Mark Shulman, and Marla Sabo, president of Christian Dior USA. The wing might be the crowning touch, bringing the Americana to 220,000 square feet, though as Castagna observed, the changes keep coming. This month, the first Ellen Tracy store opens in the center. Later this fall, London Jewelers will open Cartier, David Yurman and Van Cleef & Arpels shops. Hirshleifer’s, the family-run designer shop in the center, is adding space for J. Mendel and Jimmy Choo shops, and Burberry plans to move into a larger space. Also, Millie’s restaurant will renovate, and in 2006 the Americana Manhasset will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The year after, Castagna Realty celebrates 85 years in business.
“The evolution of Americana Manhasset will continue,” Castagna said.
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