By Connor Beach
The Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Huntington’s Big H shopping center has closed its doors as construction continues on the surrounding property.
Outback, which has stood on the corner of New York Avenue and Semon Road in the Big H for the last 20 years, permanently closed on Sunday night, according to Elizabeth Watts, the director of media and community relations for Outback’s parent company Bloomin’ Brands.
“The decision was based solely on business circumstances and has no reflection on the employees,” Watts said. “We appreciate the community’s support over the past 20 years.”
Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands, which also owns Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s, operates a second outreach location in Commack that Watts said will remain open.
The decision to close Outback comes as Manhattan-based Urban Edge Properties, which operates the Big H, moves forward with construction to open additional retail stores in the basement of the former Outback location.
Plans received by the Huntington planning department in June of last year show that Urban Edge is looking to utilize approximately 11,120 square-feet of basement space under the former Outback and existing Astoria Bank as new retail space.
The basement was previously used as offices for the bank but is currently vacant, according to town documents.
The planned construction would open the basement to the exterior of the building with glass storefronts and entrances that can be accessed from a parking lot that is slated to be constructed on the side of the building closest to New York Avenue.
Plans show that, in order to make the lower level space usable, but the proposed parking lot area will need to be excavated in order to bring it into grade with the basement.
Urban Edge Properties did not return requests for comment before deadline Wednesday, the company’s website states the former Outback location is available for lease beginning Aug. 31.