YORKTOWN, N.Y. – As state review of the proposed Costco Wholesale Club dragged along, developer Wilbur Breslin called on his good friend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to get his company a meeting with the Department of Transportation. A few days later, Breslin Realty had the meeting, got what it needed and moved onto the next phase of the process.
But even with favors from powerful friends, Costco, proposed for a vacant Crompond Road property that was once home to a hotel, was not approved until six years after the application was first filed with the town of Yorktown.
“By that time, Costco and I had different ideas and different motivations and it terminated,” Breslin said.
Breslin, who fought off opposition from residents and a lawsuit from competing gas station owners, called the Costco project “one of the worst experiences” he has had in nearly 60 years of developing.
“We had a lot of friends make this deal happen, but why should we have to go to that extent?” Breslin said. “I don’t mind spending money when we’re bettering the project and making the project better quality. But to do it for no reason at all and to get nothing for your money, that I find very distasteful.”
Now, after nearly a decade of planning, Breslin had the land and the approvals, but he didn’t have a tenant.
“It was like a needle in a haystack that I found Lowe’s,” Breslin said. “Lowe’s was able to meet all the requirements that we had.”
The Garden City-based company that has developed extensively on Long Island announced in September 2016 that it would move forward with a new development with a Lowe’s home improvement store as the centerpiece. It would also include two unnamed restaurants and a bank. Most importantly, it would not include a gas station.
The project was approved by the Yorktown Planning Board in short order with little to no opposition from the public. Additionally, the lawsuit from competing gas station owners was dropped.
This all led to Thursday, Oct. 19, when business leaders and elected officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new development headlined by Lowe’s.
“You had the fortitude of sticking with us and going through a lot of nonsense, but we are here today, nine years later, to actually put a shovel in the ground,” said state Sen. Terrence Murphy, a former Yorktown councilman. “People thought this would never happen.”
Breslin thanked the town of Yorktown planning staff and Supervisor Michael Grace for helping to make the project the best it could be.
“We know how to get things done, we know how to cut through the tape, and we understand that there is a lot more value in putting your investment dollars in brick and mortar and actual improvement, rather than wads of paper and attorney’s fees,” Grace said.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said he was excited for the first Lowe’s to arrive in northern Westchester.
“The Astorino household is here all the time at BJ’s,” Astorino said. “We get off the Taconic, go to BJ’s and about $400 later we go back home. So now you’ve got us again making a left turn into Lowe’s in the future.”
According to Breslin, the development is on track to be built by November 2018. He predicted that his development will breed other projects in the town.
“We really thank everyone in the town of Yorktown for being as receptive as you are,” Breslin said.