The Examiner

Developer Submits Chap Crossing Retail Plan to New Castle

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Chappaqua Crossing
An artist’s rendering of the retail component at Chappaqua Crossing that was filed by the developer on Monday in New Castle.

Chappaqua Crossing developer Summit/Greenfield submitted plans this week to the Town of New Castle that proposes a full-service supermarket as part of 120,000 square feet of retail space at the former Reader’s Digest site.

A preliminary development concept plan was filed on Monday calling for a food store between 36,000 and 66,000 square feet with the balance of the retail featuring a variety of businesses in smaller spaces. Any plan would exclude big box stores and fast food restaurants from consideration but could have other typical mall businesses such as a bank and a pharmacy, said Geoffrey Thompson, a public relations spokesman representing Summit/Greenfield.

As part of the mixed use plan, the developer would accept the 111 condominiums that New Castle officials approved a year and a half ago after Summit/Greenfield filed state and federal lawsuits against the town. Summit/Greenfield alleged that the town had tried to thwart its development efforts after opposing plans for 278 and 199 units of housing during the previous six years. Three weeks ago, a state Supreme Court judge dismissed one of the two suits, although Summit/Greenfield has since filed an appeal.

Thompson said bringing retail into the mix, including a new supermarket as the anchor store, would increase the vitality of the 120-acre property.

“Having the retail component there will add a certain amount of activity to the site that is not there now,” Thompson said.

Filing a proposal, even if it is a concept plan, could also help town officials in their discussions on expanding permitted uses in the BR-O zone to accommodate retail, he said.

Thompson added that the concept of a supermarket at Chappaqua Crossing has generated “very strong interest in the site on the part of very qualified companies.” Five or six companies have expressed interest, he said.

Summit/Greenfield would also look to continue to add tenants to the office space at the main Reader’s Digest building, Thompson said. Currently, there is a little more than 100,000 square feet occupied by Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco Medical Group, WeeZee…World of Yes I Can sensory gym and Fiber Media.

The submission came one day before the New Castle Planning Board resumed discussions Tuesday night on a recommendation to the town board regarding expanded uses in the zone. That proposal includes the requirement to have a supermarket between 50,000 and 60,000 square feet and other retail spaces of at least 5,000 square feet.

Planning board members declined to address Summit/Greenfield’s submission directly, preferring to focus on how the proposed expanded uses could affect the town’s plans to update its Comprehensive Plan. New Castle hasn’t updated its Comprehensive Plan since 1989.

Town Planner Sabrina Charney Hull said updating the plan could take two to three years unless New Castle is chosen by the county to participate in a special program to partner on the initiative. That would cut in half the length of the process and the estimated $160,000 to $200,000 expense, Hull said.

As a result, planning board members recommended the town initiate an economic development study, which could take about six months, to evaluate issues at the Chappaqua Crossing site. Those issues would include whether introduction of a supermarket and retail space would create a third business hamlet and jeopardize existing businesses in downtown Chappaqua and Millwood and if the 5,000-square-foot minimum for the retail is feasible in today’s market.

“It’s easier to do a study to receive parts of the information instead of waiting forever to get it all,” said Planning Board Chairman Richard Brownell.

Summit/Greenfield plans to locate the retail component at the southern end of the property. Existing buildings would be redesigned to accommodate the supermarket and stores. The retail center would have 600 parking spaces. Thompson said any spaces that are lost by adapting the existing buildings would be relocated elsewhere on the campus.

There would be three access points to the property–Route 117, Roaring Brook Road across from Horace Greeley High School and the existing southernmost Roaring Brook entrance closest to the Saw Mill Parkway. As part of the proposal, all gates will be removed.

A key part of the project is $2 million in road improvements Summit/Greenfield is prepared to make in the area, particularly to Roaring Brook Road, Thompson said. It would create right and left turn lanes into the complex and align the northern Roaring Brook Road entrance with the access point for the high school.

“This will certainly improve the traffic for both the high school and Chappaqua Crossing,” Thompson said.

Chappaqua lost its only supermarket more than a year ago when D’Agostino moved out of the Horace Greeley Shopping Center on King Street. Town officials have been exploring whether it’s feasible to rezone a portion of the Chappaqua Crossing property to accommodate a supermarket.





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