YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Updated plans for the redevelopment of Murphy’s Restaurant include a network of sidewalks as well as the removal of a previously proposed bank.
At last week’s planning board meeting, project engineer Dan Ciarcia said the sidewalks would fulfill the planning department’s wish to make the Yorktown Heights business hamlet more “pedestrian-friendly.”
The sidewalks would connect existing sidewalks along Route 118 and Underhill Avenue to the redeveloped property. The sidewalks would also connect to the other nearby Kear Street businesses and to the Yorktown Green Shopping Center.
The revised plans also no longer show a bank on a parcel of vacant land at the corner of Route 118 and Kear Street. Instead, the plans now show a “proposed retail” building on that parcel.
This did not satisfy longtime resident Mara Ziedins, who said that parcel should be left alone.
“I think it should be left green with the trees, so when you’re making the turn down Kear Street, at least it looks somewhat decent,” Ziedins said.
Ziedins also said she would like to see more traffic mitigation with the new plan, calling traffic in Yorktown Heights “a mess.” She also worried about adding more retail to a hamlet where there are already many noticeable vacancies.
Tony Grasso, treasurer of the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, said businesses fail for a number of reasons, but that the state of retail in Yorktown should not be held against the developer, Unicorn Contracting.
“I think most people would agree this is a great improvement over what we have there right now,” Grasso said. “If the Unicorn people would like to put that type of money there, by all means, let’s look at it, let’s see how we can improve it, and go forward with it.”
The Cold Spring-based development company plans to demolish Murphy’s Restaurant and replace it with a three-story, 40,000-square-foot retail/office building. Ciarcia said the new building is the “focal point” of the redevelopment.
“It’s essentially a three-story building with a mix of retail on the bottom,” Ciarcia said. “The upper floors would be the offices.”
The plan involves four neighboring parcels totaling 3.13 acres: Murphy’s Restaurant (355 Kear St.), Coldwell Banker (366 Underhill Ave.), the Grace Building (360 Underhill Ave.) and the vacant Kear Street land.
The Murphy’s Restaurant parcel and the vacant parcel are owned by the Murphy family, which includes state Sen. Terrence Murphy. The Coldwell Banker property is owned by Markatos Family Limited Partnership.
Though the Grace Building, owned by Supervisor Michael Grace, would remain intact, the mixed-use building would be constructed “predominantly” on his property.
The Coldwell Banker building and a salon on the Coldwell Banker property would also remain standing, according to the plan. A continuous parking lot would be created around the buildings and would be accessible from Underhill Avenue and Kear Street.
“We’ve been able to put together a project that preserves the Coldwell building and the Grace Building, kind of keeping that character…on Underhill Avenue intact,” Ciarcia said.
The planning board is expected to be named lead agency for the project, meaning it will have final site plan approval.