The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on all segments of society, and some of the hardest hit have been retail businesses—large and small.
Nationwide, about 35 major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection, while others have closed certain locations or gone out of business.
At the Cortlandt Town Center in Mohegan Lake, five retail draws—Modell’s Sporting Goods, Pier I Imports, Dress Barn, GNC and Payless—have departed since last year, and Office Max is on its way out by the end of this month. In addition, Regal Cinemas has opted not to reopen the multiplex movie theater.
A storefront once occupied by Rite Aid near the post office has been vacant for at least five years, space once home to Blockbuster Video near Panera Bread has been mostly unutilized and the future of Bed Bath and Beyond, which in July announced plans to close 200 locations over the next two years, is uncertain.
In February 2016, New York Life Real Estate Investors acquired a majority interest in the Cortlandt Town Center from an entity controlled by Acadia Realty Trust, which still manages the operations and maintenance of the property. At the time of the transaction, the center was 97% leased.
Despite the current empty spaces, Chris Conlon, Acadia Realty Trust Executive Vice President and Operating Officer, said there is “significant retail demand in northern Westchester and Cortlandt in particular.”
In a statement released to The Northern Westchester Examiner, New York Life concurred with Conlon and mentioned negotiations were currently underway with a few new additions.
“Throughout this period of pandemic related challenges and disruption, the northern Westchester market in general, and the Cortlandt Manor sub-market in particular, remain a stronghold for well-located retail centers like Cortlandt Town Center. This does not mean that the center will be immune from selective retailer bankruptcies and store closings,” the statement read.
“However, Cortlandt Town Center is anchored by a number of extremely vibrant stores, such as Walmart, Home Depot and Marshalls, to name a few. Sales and activity at Cortlandt Town Center have remained robust and retailer interest in filling spaces is accelerating. In fact, the continued strong performance of the aforementioned stores and others is a draw for new potential tenants,” the statement continued. “In addition, we are seeing frequent retailer inquiries from those who are well positioned and well capitalized to continue their growth strategies. Cortlandt Town Center is well positioned to face the challenges of this current cycle and to continue providing a high-quality retail environment to the community.”
Deb Milone, president of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, said it was concerning to see some of the anchors at the Cortlandt Town Center leave but noted it’s “not unexpected considering the retail environment we are in at the moment.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptionally hard on our business community. Both small business and major retailers have struggled to maintain customers and continue operations. Sadly, some businesses have closed, but we have also seen new businesses opening,” Milone stated. “As our area’s major retail center, the location of the Cortlandt Town Center and the demographics of our community, makes this center a highly desirable location. I am confident that new stores will replace those who have closed.”
Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said she was also optimistic the Cortlandt Town Center would rebound.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had so many impacts on our lives: loss of lives, many people became ill from COVID-19, the Governor had many Executive Orders with the goal to save lives but businesses small and large across the Country, State, Region and locally have been effected,” Puglisi stated. “It’s sad but we are doing everything throughout our town to assist our local business owners. I am optimistic that businesses can come back and look forward to new businesses in the future. I have spoken to the owners of Cortlandt Town Center and they assure me they are talking to other stores to fill vacancies.”
Acadia Realty Trust owns Cortlandt Crossing across from the Cortlandt Town Center where ShopRite is located and Conlon said an some announcements about new tenants there are expected in early 2021.