YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The town board has set two public hearings for the continued redevelopment of Jefferson Valley Mall, which includes the construction of a new 8,000 -square-foot building.
On Sept. 5, the town board will review a request by Washington Prime Group, the mall’s owner, to reduce the minimum parking requirements by 0.25 spaces per 1,000 square-feet, paving the way for the 8,000- square-foot building. This building, which may contain a drive-thru lane and an outdoor seating area, would feature a retail tenant sandwiched between two “very well-known” quick-service restaurants, mall representatives told the board Tuesday.
A site plan for this new development, scheduled to be reviewed by the town board on Sept. 19, also includes the installation of a 30-foot sign that would be erected on the mall side of the berm along Route 6, opposite Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The size of the sign gave town board members pause.
“That’s probably going to be the tallest sign in Yorktown,” said Supervisor Michael Grace.
Mall representatives said they were trying to make the sign, which would include names of prominent retailers and restaurants, visible to Route 6 motorists who may be travelling at a high rate of speed.
Grace said he understood the reasoning for the sign, but had trouble with its size.
“Thirty feet just seems awfully big,” Grace said. “It may not be, I don’t know.”
Mall representatives said they would be willing to work with the town on finding a compromise. They said they were “anxious” to get the project moving and don’t want it to be held up because of the sign.
The plan also calls for the creation of an entrance ramp from Route 6 into the mall. Mall representatives this this ramp has been “conceptually approved” by the state Department of Transportation, pending the town taking ownership of the “ring road” around the mall.
The town board voted to refer the site plan to its advisory boards and requested comment back no later than Sept. 12, a week before the public hearing.
“I’d like to get enough wind in your sails as I can to get you in the ground as quick as I can,” Grace told the representatives.
As part of the same Sept. 19 public hearing, the town board will also review a proposal by Seritage Growth Properties toconvert 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.
Seritage, which introduced the concept two months ago, is proposing a 5,800 square-foot extension to accommodate the fitness center, 24 Hour Fitness. The company is also proposing to convert the 9,500 square-foot Sears Auto Center into one or more restaurants.
In addition to approving the site plan, the town board would have to legalize a health/fitness center use in the mall’s commercial regional center zone.
Grace said he supported the plan, but was concerned about aesthetics. He said the exterior design, including the sign for 24 Hour Fitness, was not consistent with the rest of the mall redevelopment.
“It’s ugly,” Grace said. “I’ll be blunt. The sign’s ugly.”
The fitness center would be located across the street from an existing gym, Club Fit, whose owner was sitting in the audience of the town board meeting. Grace asked 24 Hour Fitness representatives if they did their homework before deciding to open at that location. Matt Calchera, district manager of 24 Hour Fitness, told Grace that his company and Club Fit have different clienteles and that neither would struggle as a result.
24 Hour Fitness would have weights, cardio machines, a pool and a basketball court and would charge $44.99 per month. While his gym caters to people looking for a quick workout, Club Fit resembles more of a country club. Calchera said there are 430 existing 24 Hour Fitness locations in the world.
“You don’t have to share your homework with us, just make sure you’ve done it,” Grace said.