Yorktown, NY A plan to transform one of the city’s most prominent commercial retail sites from an outdated, largely vacant shopping center to a mixed-use center featuring 150 apartments, ground-level retail shops and a new supermarket was unveiled at a Town Board meeting on January 26th.
Oster Properties’ concept for the Yorktown Green, which occupies 15 acres in the Yorktown Heights business district, would demolish the defunct, 90,000 s/f former Kmart store to make way for a four-story U-shaped building featuring 84 one-bedroom and 66 two-bedroom residences, ground floor retail, underground parking for residents all surrounding a small park.
“The concept of this is to provide alternatives to empty-nesters or young millennials,” said Oster’s attorney Darius Chafizadeh. “This would allow them to stay in town, or young ones to come back into your town and live here and be able to afford it without having to pay high property taxes.” Price points for the housing are undetermined.
The property at 335 Downing Dr. has two empty anchor tenant buildings. The free-standing former Food Emporium supermarket has been vacant for almost 10 years, and Kmart has sat empty since closing two years ago.
“Throughout the retail world there’s a rethinking of how retail spaces are designed to service the world,” said Matthew Jarmel, Oster’s architect. “This Kmart is empty because of e-commerce. What we see as architects and as planners is that many retail centers—and some very large shopping malls as well that we’re working on—are being repositioned to mixed use.”
According to Oster’s representatives, a formal application is in its final stages and would be submitted to the Planning Board within weeks. The Town Board is in the process of adopting overlay zoning districts including the Yorktown Heights business district including Yorktown Green.
Oster’s representatives said they have an “exciting” tenant in lease negotiations for a new supermarket.
“This proposal recognizes the evolving economy that we are facing, especially e-commerce,” said supervisor Matt Slater. “Yorktown Green has languished for too long and I look forward to seeing more details about Oster’s proposal. It is a key property in many ways, not the least of which is its prominent location in the heart of town. The commitment to a complete re-thinking and renewal of the property. This is very welcome news and yet another sign of the economic upswing we are working hard to see in our town.”
“I think this is a smart development both from a commercial and residential point of view,” said councilwoman Alice Roker. Councilman Ed Lachterman who owns a business in White Plains where he has seen large mixed-use developments rise, said he liked the concept, and council members Tom Diana and Vishnu Patel also applauded the approach.