Walmart Envisions Supercenter Across from Cortlandt Town Center

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The current Walmart at Cortlandt Town Center.
The current Walmart at Cortlandt Town Center.

By Rick Pezzullo

Walmart has been one of the most successful stores at the Cortlandt Town Center, but store officials say they’re looking for bigger and better things.

“It’s been a great location for us,” said Edward Premo, an attorney for Walmart. “We like ownership. Having ownership of a store is important to us. We want to stay in the Town of Cortlandt.”

With a restriction in its lease agreement at the town center prohibiting it from having a full-fledged supermarket, Walmart would like to abandon its current 144,000-square-foot location and move across the street into a planned 160,000-square-foot Supercenter.

Walmart and representatives from Westrock Development caught the Cortlandt Town Board off guard last week when they unveiled those plans for the 36-acre site that once was proposed for a hotel, residential homes and a smaller scale retail store.

Since the property is split-zoned, with 26.5 acres zoned residential and 9.5 acres zoned commercial development, for the Walmart project to see the light of day the town board would first have to approve an amendment to the zoning map.

“Walmart finds moving across the street a wonderful opportunity to expand and stay in Cortlandt,” said David Steinmetz, an attorney for Westrock. “The old-fashioned Walmart is out the window. Part of what is at play here is economics.”

Besides adding a supermarket, the Walmart Supercenter would also have an auto service component for tires, batteries and oil changes. Approximately 750 parking spaces are projected, while 14 acres in the rear of the site, which buffers about 80 existing homes in the Baker Street neighborhood and Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, would be dedicated to the town as open space.

Traffic on Route 6 in that vicinity has long been an issue, along with a lack of sewers, which the town is currently studying.

“There are a lot of obstacles and challenges to overcome, if they can be overcome,” Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said. “This is twice the size of what we had originally been discussing. We all like Walmart and we want Walmart to stay in the community. There’s a lot of big issues.”

Councilman Richard Becker said the plan had its positives and negatives, the latter being bringing another supermarket to an area where A&P, ShopRite and Stop and Shop were already well established.

“We seem to be getting more of what we have than what we need,” Becker said. “We don’t want to lose Walmart but what will happen to the Cortlandt Town Center? What will happen to A&P? I don’t want to have empty space.”

Steinmetz maintained the Supercenter would be a positive for consumers.

“This will be a competition benefit to the taxpayers and the residents of the Town of Cortlandt,” he said.

Walmart’s lease at the Cortlandt Town Center expires in 2018. Jon Grisham, senior vice president and chief accounting officer for Acadia Realty, which manages the town center, declined to comment on Walmart’s potential departure, saying only, “We don’t comment on tenant movement at the center.”

Steinmetz said Westrock may submit an application to the town as early as April. The proposal would also have to be reviewed by the planning board.

The closest Walmart Supercenter is located on Route 9 in Fishkill in Dutchess County.

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