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Thursday, April 27 marked a new beginning for Western Queens residents with the grand opening of the much-anticipated Shops at Atlas Park - New York City’s first-ever lifestyle retail center.
After months of securing stores for the Glendale site, 14 retailers opened their shops after an impressive kickoff ceremony featuring a number of public officials including Borough President Helen Marshall, Senator Serphin Maltese, and Councilwoman Melinda Katz.
“We have created our own neighborhood with green grass, park benches, seasonal plantings, fountains, performing areas, community activities, arches and awnings…and like the advertisement says, ‘you can shop here too,’ ” said H. Dale Hemmerdinger, President of Atco Properties & Management, the developer of The Shops at Atlas Park.
Among the retailers that opened on the first weekend included Stein Mart, White House|Black Market, Marmi, Aerosoles, Gymboree, Stella Gialla, Jos. A. Bank, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, J. Jill, Crazy for Animals, Claire’s, Fine Art Gallery and Orange, a caf’e and bar.
While many public officials and storeowners were excited about the opening, many residents of the nearby communities were also optimistic about the prospects of having The Shops open.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Patty Heckel, a Middle Village resident who has been living in the area for more than 25 years. “I think it will be great. I can’t wait for the movie theatre and the restaurants to open.”
Within the next five months, Regal Cinemas, Borders, New York Sports Club, Bombay Company, Johnny Rockets, Chili’s, Chopin Chemist, Cold Stone Creamery, and California Pizza Kitchen are all expected to open for business at The Shops.
When completely occupied, the center will house upwards of 55 shops, service centers and restaurants, comprising 400,000 square feet, along with 1,600 covered parking spaces. In addition, this new lifestyle retail center will create 1,200 new jobs within the community.
“I just wanted to be here today to see the miracle of Atlas Park,” said Senator Serphin Maltese. “None of us had doubts because we knew the Hemmerdinger family, but at the same time we didn’t contemplate something like this. It is so important to the community.”

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