The 20,000-square foot expansion and renovation plan at the Jefferson Valley Mall is moving forward as Yorktown town board members unanimously approved the site plan at a town board meeting on Tuesday.
"Everybody is overly enthused to see you going," Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace told the applicants.
The renovation plan calls to add 20,000 square feet to the building that would accommodate new restaurants and an outdoor plaza. It also includes renovations to the parking lot, Route 6 berm and planting of 79 additional trees in the parking lot.
"The goal is, although it's a modest expansion in terms of square footage, it will be a dramatic effect," Simon Property Vice President Steve Shea said. "When we're done, we'll have a property you will be proud to call your mall."
The mall's main entrance (facing Lee Boulevard) will receive a new look, according to the plan. It will be reworked to include additional retail and dining space, along with a reoriented main entry that will replace the existing one. The mall will also be opened to the public with all of the facade facing Route 6.
The outdoor area adjoining the new entrance will allow for outdoor dining. The names of the new restaurants have not been revealed yet as officials said they've been "sworn to secrecy." A tenant will occupy the former movie theatre, but officials have not revealed it yet.
Robert Roth, an engineer with John Meyer Consulting, said the plan includes creating wide sidewalks, a plaza and a mix of shops that will be accessed from the exterior of the mall.
"We will still have the interior mall as we know it today," he said.
Kenneth Mackiewicz, of TRC engineers and a Jefferson Valley resident, called the plan a "modest expansion" compared to previous discussions over the years for a bigger expansion.
He said traffic studies have shown the expansion will add 22 vehicles in and 23 vehicles out of the mall during the rush hour on weekdays and 32 vehicles in and 30 out of the mall during the Saturday rush hour.
Tenille Jordan, an architect with JP2 Architects, gave a presentation that included a virtual tour of what the mall would look like if you were driving down Route 6.
Some of those changes include adding monument signs at the entrances, including the Lee Boulevard and Route 6 intersection. The berm along Route 6 would be landscaped in a way that would hide the parking lot, but make the new building facade more visible, she said. In addition, the food court inside the mall would receive a "fresh new look."
Some concerns that were raised during the public hearing this week were from members of the Jefferson Owners Association who were concerned about water drainage.
"What happens at the mall directly impacts our quality of life here at the Village," said Joe Devery, president of the Jefferson Valley Owners Association.
He said he supports the expansion but expects mall officials to be "good corporate neighbors" who would not bring any more debris or water. Grace assured the residents that the water flow would be away from Jefferson Village and not impact them.
After town board members heard from the public and closed the public hearing on Oct. 15, they declared a "negative declaration" for the plan, which means it would not have an adverse impact on the environment. They unanimously approved the site plan.
Once construction begins, the project is expected to last a year and a half. The mall would remain open during that time, Shea said.
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