The Examiner

Modell’s Sporting Goods Plan Debated in Mount Kisco

We are part of The Trust Project
Tina Bernstein, co-owner of Mount Kisco Sports, opposes the Modell’s plan.
Tina Bernstein, co-owner of Mount Kisco Sports, opposes the Modell’s plan.

A proposal to bring a Modell’s to the former Borders site in Mount Kisco sparked some debate at last week’s village planning board meeting between an owner of an independent sporting goods store and another merchant.

The roughly 20,000-square-foot space at 154-162 E. Main St. has been vacant since September 2011, when the bookstore company went out of business after filing for bankruptcy. The property is now co-owned by Modell’s and the New Jersey-based Lerner Properties.

For the sporting goods chain to move in, a special permit and a change of use approval would need to be approved by the village’s planning board.

Modell’s is seeking to occupy all but 6,000 square feet of the upper level of the two-level storefront. Another tenant, which has not been determined, will occupy the balance of the space. The only major interior changes would be the installation of a new elevator and a staircase.

At the Aug. 25 public hearing, Cathy Deutsch, the owner of Tiger Lily, a boutique across the street from the vacant storefront, said she and several other Main Street business owners support Modell’s moving into the village.

When Borders folded, a void was created downtown which negatively impacted business, Deutsch said, noting that Modell’s shoppers would be attracted to other establishments in the area.

“Modell’s will give us the life we need,” she said.

Mount Kisco Sports co-owner Tina Bernstein opposes the project. While Bernstein said she did not object to competition, Modell’s would be too large and out of character with the village.

“It doesn’t fit into our town,” she said.

Another resident, Mitchell Rislin, said he has been good friends with the company’s CEO, Mitchell Modell, for 20 years and Modell cares deeply for the communities in which his stores are located.

Modell’s could be the best chance for the site to be filled, Rislin said. If it fails to move into storefront, the property could remain vacant indefinitely, Rislin added.

“It’s not going to be an easy thing to fill,” he said.

Modell’s Regional Marketing Supervisor John Borrelli said the company wants to be “part of the community.” The chain has made donations to several youth sports programs.

Borrelli said Modell’s also looks to hire local residents to work at their stores.

During the meeting, planning board member Ralph Vigliotti said he wanted the storefront’s exterior to resemble others in the village’s downtown. Modell’s District Manager William Perez said the store would meet all village codes.

Modell’s is hoping to operate 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Perez said. Planning Board Chairman Joseph Cosentino said because St. Francis of Assisi Church is located across the street and has cars parked in the area for Sunday Mass, he hoped Modell’s management would open the store later on Sunday.

“It would really help this community if you opened up at 12 instead of 10,” Cosentino said.

Board Vice Chairman Anthony Sturniolo requested more information about the merchandise to be sold at Modell’s. Perez said about one-third of the items are sporting goods, with the rest being sports-related apparel.

The board agreed to adjourn the public hearing until its Sept. 9 meeting.


We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.