The Great Neck Plaza village board approved conditional-use permits for three businesses Wednesday night, welcoming the new owners of a local Subway, pharmacy and Indian eatery in town.
Mayor Jean Celender said that it’s typical to have one conditional-use application on the agenda, but having two or three on the agenda can be considered unusual.
“We’re very excited when we see three conditional use applications on the board agenda,” Celender said. “That’s a very positive sign when there’s businesses opening, especially when it’s in a vacant store.”
Celender said that in July 2016, the vacancy rate of storefronts was 8.85 percent – or 23 stores out of 260. Now, she said only 18 fronts are vacant – or 6.92 percent. This is approaching the 6.1 percent rate they had in 2008.
“We’re coming close to that level, and for a downtown that’s considered pretty healthy,” Celender said.
Trustees asked each applicant about possible hours, the number of employees, prior experience, delivery times and what their store will bring to the village. They also informed them on the village restrictions regarding video games, live music and parking.
Ruby Divine Indian Dining, on 25 Middle Neck Road, will be the newest Indian eatery in Great Neck Plaza.
Tilak Shah, one of the two owners, said that Ruby Divine will be a “high-end, full service Indian restaurant” with specialized chefs.
They said they expect to have classical music playing in the background and images of India to add to its authenticity.
“I hope they enjoy the food,” Shah said. “I’m trying to bring a unique flavor that hasn’t been in Great Neck in a long time.”
The restaurant, which is a sister restaurant to another in New Jersey, will not be kosher certified, but features vegan and vegetarian options. Within six to eight months, upon receiving a liquor license, Ruby’s owners plan to serve alcohol.
Shah said he expects the restaurant to open in June.
Boris and Edward Yakubov, a father-son duo certified as immunizing pharmacists, are opening New Grace Pharmacy on 10 Grace Ave. They said it will offer basic pharmaceutical services and specialize in orthapedic, diabetic and oncological treatments.
They will offer immunizations in the future, but not currently as that requires a separate medical waste disposal license. Additionally, unlike CVS, the store will sell surgical supplies.
“Honestly the scope is the same, but the services are completely different,” Edward Yakubov said at the public hearing.
The new owners of Subway on 25 Cutter Mill Road, Gregory and Melita Calpakis, carry experience from running another Subway in New York City.
The exact opening dates for each store are not finalized.