YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Major overhauls to the Jefferson Valley Mall were set in motion earlier this month when the town board unanimously approved several aspects of the renovation projects.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the board authorized Supervisor Michael Grace to sign off on a plan to build an 8,000-square-foot retail building in a rarely used area of the mall's parking lot. The building, which has a drive-thru lane and an outdoor seating area, will feature a retail tenant sandwiched between two quick-service restaurants.

A 26-foot sign will also be erected on the mall side of the berm along Route 6, opposite Dick’s Sporting Goods. A new entrance ramp that would allow residents to access the mall from Route 6 has not been finalized because it involves the town taking ownership of the mall's ring road.

Sign Up for E-News

At a Business Symposium held Friday at town hall, Grace said New York State wanted the mall to pay a significant amount of money for the entrance ramp.

“Years ago, [the state] condemned all the access onto Route 6 to make it a limited access highway,” Grace said. “So, they paid to take everyone’s right-of-way to get directly out onto 6. They said, ‘We made that investment years ago and we want a return on our investment. To get that access you’re going to have to pay for it.’ They told the mall, ‘The way we calculate it is how much value it adds to the mall.’”

Grace said the mall was looking at forking over more than $10 million until the town got involved.

“Somebody at the meeting says, ‘We do this no matter what. The only exception is if that access point goes onto a town road, then we don’t charge,’” Grace said. “We said fine, we just made the ring road of the Jefferson Valley Mall a town road and that was the end of it.”

Grace, at the Oct. 17 meeting, said the town board will need to come up with a name for this new town road.

The board also voted to legalize a health/fitness center use at the mall. Seritage Growth Properties has proposed to convert the lower floor of its Sears store into a 38,000 square-foot fitness center and a 37,000 square-foot retail use. The top floor would remain a 67,000 square-foot Sears store.

The plan, which the board also authorized Grace to sign, includes a 5,800-square-foot extension to accommodate the fitness center, called 24 Hour Fitness. The 9,500-square-foot Sears Auto Center will also be converted into one or more restaurants.

The fitness center would be located across the street from an existing gym, Club Fit, whose owner objected to the mall's renovation plan at several meetings.

Grace, though, said he supported the plan and is excited about the mall's future.

“We’re loving what you’re doing out there,” Grace said. “The mall’s starting to look great...Anything we can do, we want to put as much wind in your sails as we possibly can.”

The plans have been discussed at several work sessions. The board was mostly concerned about aesthetics, including the color of the fitness center's sign.