The Northern Westchester Examiner

Concerns Raised About Fitness Center Joining JV Mall

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Amending the Town of Yorktown’s Zoning Code to allow a fitness center to take over the bottom level space currently occupied by Sears at the Jefferson Valley Mall was met with some resistance last week.

Most of the concerns were aired by representatives of Club Fit, including owner Bill Beck, who questioned the town board setting a precedent by allowing new signage that can be seen on Route 6 and an access road, something he has not been granted for the last 40 years.

“My worry is we are not doing our due diligence with this property,” said Beck, who has lived in Yorktown for 49 years. “Do we understand the consequences of a fitness center on this site?”

Al Capellini, attorney for WP Glimcher, managers of the mall, said health and fitness centers were a permitted use in the zone and would help the mall in its revitalization efforts.

“Today we face a challenge with changing times. Malls are struggling today. Mall owners and tenants have to adapt to the situation. If they don’t adapt, you go by the wayside,” Capellini said. “We have a vital center in our town that must carry on.”

However, James Stropoli, a longtime Club Fit manager and member of the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce, said while he agrees with the need for the mall to once again become a destination location as it was in years past, he doubts a 24 Hour Fitness will be the trigger.

“This proposal will not bring more shoppers to the mall,” he said, suggesting a survey be circulated asking residents what they would like to see at the mall. “This is a quick fix to fill a space. It looks good on an election ballot.”

Resident Mark Lieberman agreed with Stropoli’s assessment, maintaining a better fit would be a Whole Foods supermarket.

Supervisor Michael Grace said he considers all of the plans at the mall, including a steakhouse that’s in the works, as “positive” improvements.

“You’ve got to be creative. You’ve got to be inventive,” he said. “We’re trying to make Yorktown a commercial draw. The town spent decades trying to destroy the mall.”

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