The building called home by Rothman’s Department Store in Southold for approximately 100 years will be restored and revamped under new ownership.
Co-owners Jonathan Tibett and Glenn Heidtmann, who purchased the building in January, 2018, said they plan to begin construction immediately and have it open to the community by the summer.
“Having so much respect for its 100-year history and knowing how much of Southold’s past this building has been part of, we’ve made it our mission to ensure that it is ready to play a vital role in the next 100 years,” said Tibett, a Southold resident.
Tibett said they plan to “fortify the structural integrity of the space” while maintaining the building’s current commercial and residential status. Both the street level store front and second level living spaces will be completely refurbished. New kitchens and bathrooms will be installed in the residential areas.
“We’re really re-purposing the building with an eye on the needs of the community as it stands today, while remaining rooted in its cultural past. We see this as a space for connecting and gathering, anchored by a square just outside,” he added.
The building sale follows the late 2017 move of Rothman’s Department Store from its original space to a neighboring shop. The iconic Southold store is known for its eclectic array of goods — and founder David Rothman’s unlikely friendship with Albert Einstein, who, as the story goes, visited the store.
Tibett and Heidtmann decided to pay homage to the building’s history with a marble sculpture of Einstein that will placed in the center of an outdoor space called Einstein Square.
The duo aims to create what they described as an “active, sociable destination and open-air meeting place.” It will feature ample seating and a green space, they said.
Tibett noted they will be advertising space available to rent in the coming weeks.
“We are dedicated to preserving the rich history of this community,” said Heidtmann, who has lived in Southold for over 40 years.