Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 13 December 2013 00:00
Station Plaza Diner owner Nick Liakonis indicated he has submitted a lease proposal to Winthrop-University Hospital on Dec. 4 concerning the revamp and reconstruction of the “Welcome To Mineola” sign that sits atop his building at the
Mineola Long Island Rail Road Station. He said hospital reps asked in mid-September that he begin to draw up plans.
The location of the sign offers good exposure for the hospital if Winthrop secures the roof for rent and renovation. Winthrop is currently constructing a new $80-million, 95,000-square-foot diabetes research facility directly north of the sign, at the corner of Mineola Boulevard and Second Street, and expressed interest in the sign two months ago.
“We’re still looking into where we’re going to go with it,” said Winthrop Marketing Director Frank Adamo. He would not comment further on the developments.
Liakonis spoke to reps last week. He would not discuss details of the lease, and whether his proposal matches Winthrop’s vision is still unknown.
“Nothing is definite at this point,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Liakonis bought the building in 2000 and opened the diner, which was previously located around the corner in the plaza just north of the current store.
“I think everything is going according to plan on both sides,” he said. “They care as much as I care. These things take time.”
Liakonis would not divulge what could replace the sign if the lease and reconstruction is approved. The plan could modernize the sign with a digital display, maintain the old sign’s classic character or somehow combine old and new.
The sign was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and the “Mineola” portion is gone. Combining the popular train station with modern amenities and the vintage clock that currently sits south of the diner, merging old and new styles in a revamped sign could satisfy commuters and passersby.
“We don’t know yet,” said Liakonis. “So far, there’s nothing we can discuss. I submitted a plan and we hope it’s solid. The sign needs to be nice for everyone.”
If the hospital does take a lease on the roof, any plans for renovation would have to be approved by the Mineola Village Board. Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss hasn’t heard anything from either party.
“We’re willing to work with whoever the sign [renter] ends up being,” Strauss said. “I haven’t seen any drawings or anything like that, but we’ll make sure that it’s suitable for the village.”
The sign was built in 1940 by the Going Sign Company, previously located at Station Plaza North before relocating to Plainview in 1974.