Simon Properties, owner of the Nanuet Mall, laid out a rough timeline for the Nanuet Mall after recently picking up the . Clarkstown town Supervisor Alex Gromack stopped by the Nanuet Civic Association meeting Thursday night with an update on the mall's status:
- April 2011: Pick up demolition papers
- June 2011: Submit demolition papers
- September 2011: Demolish structures owned by Simon—main mall concourse, former Boscov's department store building, 2-story parking structure adjacent to the mall off Route 59. Sears and Macy's own their respective buildings
- 2012: Begin rebuilding and renovations
- 2013: Open part or all of the mall
"I don’t know what they’re spending, I don’t know what this could cost, but it’s substantial," said Gromack. "What they want to do is, in about 3-4 weeks, they want to come in with a demolition plan and get it approved with our building department and health department and all our entities will have a look at that. In a perfect world, they would like to start the demolition in September … of this year. They’re ready to go.
Simon told Gromack that they want to go to the Planning Board in September and go through that process in 6-8 months to "hopefully get their approval and start construction (in February) ... and get part of it open or all of it open in late 2013."
"I don’t know if that’s a realistic goal, but them wanting to do it so quickly, six to eight months, that would be nice," he said. "So if they could start that process in September while they’re doing 3-4 months of demolition, everything’s kind of going on two tracks."
"They would like to start the demolition in 2012. I don’t know if it’s Jan (2012) or December or somewhere in between," Gromack added. "They would like to be open in 2013, and I don’t know if that’s January or December, but I think we all know that malls and entities that want to open always look at target dates and something about November and December is always an important time to open."
"So that’s the news that I have now, nothing in writing, no plans submitted, but it’s happening. I feel a lot more confident, than all the other times that they came here and talked about what they want to do. Now I’m telling you what they intend to do."
Simon's Perspective on Rebuilding
"Why did the old Bradlees get renovated? Because That company Stop and Shop felt Clarkstown was a great investment," said Gromack. "If you go down 303 in Congers, you’ll see new entities there because we’re a good investment. If you look at where Davies Farm house is, there are going to be new incubators and businesses going in there. Good schools, safe community, recreational opportunities, great citizens, it’s a good package."
"So along comes Simon. And for the last three years, they’ve been saying, ‘We need to do something’ and I’ve heard all the rumors: that they’re selling it to the orthodox, that it’s going to be housing."
"Well this is where it’s at. I don’t have anything in writing, but I’ve spoken to the individuals again today because we’re on a roll with getting information at least verbally. They believe that Nanuet is a strong hamlet, Clarkstown is a strong town and that we’re in a good region."
A New Look
- Macy's and Sears will remain
- The main concourse, parking garage and Boscov's will be demolished
- The new mall will be smaller, traditional with an outdoor setting. It will not be enclosed, nor will it be outlets. It will be somewhere in between.
"If you’ve been to the mall, you’ve probably run into their architects and engineers tapping on walls of what they’re going to knock down because they’ve got to be careful that when they knock it down, they don’t bring Sears or Macy’s down with it," said Gromack.
Since Simon does not own the buildings that house Macy’s and Sears, Gromack said those buildings would remain.
"They’re still up in the air about the look of it. And I misspoke," Gromack said referring to his previous statments of it only being a traditional mall. "It’s changed over time. I’ve called it a ‘traditional’ mall. What they tell me now is that it’s going to be more of an outdoor mall with traditional stores, high-end stores. So not like a Woodbury Commons with an outlet, but a traditional mall with outdoor setting. I have no idea what that means but they’ll start presenting plans to you and we’ll get an idea, but the good thing is that we’ve got a great planning board, a great ALC (Town Architectural and Landscape Commission), Zoning board, so it’s going to be something very special."
- There will be plenty of opportunity for the public to give input
- Input will be taken at planning board meetings and when Simon or Planning board representatives visit community civic meetings
"I spoke to (Tom) Schneider today who’s overseeing it," he said. Schneider is Simon's main liason between the town and the company. "His committement is still there. Once they make their formal announcement to put the plans in that they will come to a meeting like this and other meetings because … the entire town should have input. Hopefully it will still be called the Nanuet mall."
"The one thing that I’ve said, and I think everyone agrees, is we desperately want this mall. It’s going to be a little bit smaller. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. Our standards are a lot higher, they know that and you need to have input and you will have input."
"I think a lot is going to happen in the next 3-6 weeks and it’s exciting. One of the things they’re going to do very early in the process is come (to local civic meetings). Now, they’ll tell you a number of things that they’ve got locked in, but I think that they can still talk about the look of the mall and other stores that are going in. One thing I can assure you on is an open process."
- Banchetto Feast is moving to Main Street
- A 60-80,000 square feet specialty food store will be included
- The stores will be high-end stores
- The stores at the Nanuet Mall will not likely duplicate existing stores at the Palisades Center
"I think it’s very very exciting for Clarkstown and Nanuet. When one group starts to move up, everyone moves up," Gromack said. "They talked about the Italian restaurant Banchetto, moving them out. He had such a great lease that they can’t get rid of him."
has a 25-year lease, said Gromack.
"They’re going to move him (Banchetto Feast) on to Main Street … (the) dental offices on Main Street is where they’re talking about getting Banchetto into … and he’ll live on Main Street. When they open, he’s not going back."
"The only type of store that I know is some type of specialty food store … and (my wife) believes they’re talking about a Whole Foods or a Stew Leonards," Gromack said. "One thing that they indicated is, is that anything that they do, it’s got to be high end—middle of the road and up—and it’s got to be a little bit different than the Palisades Mall."
"There’re are going to be some similarities ... (but) you can’t have the Palisades Mall with an Old Navy and the Nanuet Mall with an Old Navy, the Palisades Mall with an Ann Taylor and the Nanuet Mall with an Ann Taylor … that’s not going to work and hopefully, I think they know that."
"We’re all going to survive because you’re still going to need to go to the Palisades Mall because you need that Old Navy t-shirt, but you’re going to want to go and do some other kind of shopping (at the Nanuet mall) because they’ve got certain shops."
Q&A between Gromack and the Public
What happens to the tax base while the mall is in a demolition stage?
"I’ve got to check with Cathy Conklin (of the Clarkstown Assessor’s office), but it’s at its lowest point right now, so certainly a year or two of construction, it can’t get that much lower. There’s still Macy’s and (Sears) there. For that short term, it may not even drop anymore because it may at its lowest. Even if it drops for six months, it’s going to shoot up quickly. That’s certainly good news for the Nanuet School District."
"Cathy Conklin will have to do an assessment on square footage and tenants and everything else. I spoke to Mark McNeill (Nanuet Schools Superintendent) and Anne Byrne (Nanuet School Board President). They’re certainly excited about it certainly with the drop of (Pfizer)."
The Boscov's property, who owns that?
Simon Properties owns it.
You said before that we can’t have an Old Navy (at the Palisades center) and an Old Navy (at the Nanuet mall, meaning that there will not likely be duplicates in stores between the two malls). Does that mean that Macy’s is going to stay (or leave)?
"I believe Macy’s and Sears are staying. I believe at one point there was a discussion with Simon … they (Simon Properties) actually made offers to buy those two entities because they would have liked to knock down the whole thing and kind of start with a fresh canvas, but they (Macy’s and Sears) want to stay."
"I believe that if you have a nice airy outdoor mall … setting, that those two entities will pick up."
"I think they slowed down part of their discussion for was that there’s got to be a blend to the architecture ... I think they want to make the effort to blend in."
Will you be able to assure us that the local infrastructure will be looked at when they rebuild the mall, that it won’t destroy the Nanuet community
"Absolutely, and that’s why I think it’s very important to make sure that you attend some of the planning boards and ALC (Town Architectural and Landscape Commission) meetings and we will have committee forums. The one thing that I feel very positive about is that … I think this is a project that will bring the community together"
Gromack added that Clarkstown will have extra meetings to ensure that the public has input.
"I believe it’s a smaller mall. I don’t think it’s a particularly difficult process because it’s not a zone change. They’re downsizing it a little bit. They’re not looking to expand it bigger than it is."
"I think there will be a community benefit that we will be able to talk to them about, about roads and drainage, certainly the fire department will be involved with some of the discussions."
"The team in Clarkstown is ready. We’ve told them that it’s going to be a busy year, a lot of planning and inspections"
"We want them to meet with you. If there’s a time when they’re not able to come, we’ll have our planning department come out and our town planner come out. We’re going to have a lot of meetings. We want to make sure that what’s done by Simon is done right and it’s what the residents of Nanuet will be proud of. You’ve got my word on it"
I do know that you’re going to have two closed entitites (Macy’s and Sears) on the ends and if inside is open, do you think that presents a crime problem and the police should be involved in the planning. I don’t want to see Nanuet become a loitering area. We need to have more police in this area because we’re having this mall
"That’s one of the things that we’re going to talk about, this community benefit. The Palisades mall, I think, they make a contribution for additional police protection … so that on Fridays and Saturdays, they have some extra police.. Those are things that as we go through the process we may negotiate."
"I’m not 100 percent sure what an open mall is. They tell me it’s not quite a Woodbury Commons, it’s not an enclosed mall. I’m getting the sense that it’s more like walking down Main Street, beautiful landscapes, facades, stores that you can go into, bigger connecting stores. Hopefully they’ll be here in a month and show us some of these concepts and we’ll talk about it"
What about the traffic flow on Middletown Road?
"That’s going to be all be part of it. Those are traffic studies. A lot of time and attention is going to be put in it. We’ve got to make it work. We need to let them know that they’re entitled to build something because of the zone, but we’re entitled that there are certain standards."
"If we feel that this is going to be a very successful mall, they may have to do improvements on Main Street, work with the state DOT because they connect to a state road."
"They need to step up and pay for improvements and we’re going to ask for the moon. They’ve got a lot of money and it’s to their benefit. They don’t want to create a mall that takes an hour for someone to get into"
"I heard a rumor that there was a movie theater, but honestly, the only thing I heard about was this 60-80,000 square feet of a specialty food store."
"They’re very anxious to make a presentation and they’ll start to outline the stores that they have contracts with and the ones that they’re still trying to get and hopefully there will be some room where they’ll hear from you guys and what you would like to see."
When the Palisades Mall came, they built the firehouse for West Nyack, when Costco came, they built the firehouse in Pomona, when Home Depot came, they gave money toward a new ambulance corps building, We (Nanuet) could use a new firehouse.
"Everything’s on the table. We can certainly talk to them about community benefit. We’re going to talk to them about what they can do and certainly the firehouse is near and dear to our hearts."
Are they going to do anything to improve the shopping area with Premier Fitness?
"I don’t believe so. They’re talking about the main structure (mall concourse)."
The 913,000 square foot mall opened in 1969 and features a variety of stores on two levels and a Macy's department store on the east side of the mall, with a Sears store on the west side.
Officials at Simon Properties have not commented on the future plans for the mall, which was expanded in 1994 and fell onto hard times with the opening of the larger Palisades Center in 1998.
Simon Property Group, Inc. is an S&P 500 company that owns or has an interest in 373 retail real estate properties comprising 256 million square feet of gross leasable area in North America, Europe and Asia. Simon Property Group and employs more than 5,000 people worldwide.
Editor's Note: Check back with Patch later for the Q&A video. Thanks for stopping by.