The Mall at Bay Plaza celebrated its first birthday last week.
Prestige Properties, elected officials and shoppers gathered on Friday, August 14 to mark the anniversary of the malls’s opening.
The 780,000 square foot mall opened to great fanfare last year, and is now home to over a hundred stores and numerous restaurants.
“It’s a big day for us and the Bronx,” said Sam Shalem, chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties and Development Co. Inc., the mall’s owner and developer.
Elected officials touted the mall, which was the first enclosed shopping center built in the city in about 40 years, as a major achievement for the Bronx.
“Where they said it couldn’t be done, it was done, and it was done in spades,” said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. “It’s wonderful when a dream comes through.”
The mall has created about 1,700 permanent jobs, said Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president Marlene Cintron, many of whom were hired at the Department of Labor’s job fair at the site, which was attended by more than 3,000 people.
“It’s projects like this that make such a difference for Bronx residents,” said Cintron.
The mall has also brought the state $12 million in tax revenue so far, which more than covered what the state invested in associated highway improvements, she said.
Attendees at the ceremony also applauded the arrival of a convenient shopping center with a multitude of upscale stores in one place.
“I don’t have to go to Westchester county anymore, I don’t have to go to the palisades, I can stay here in my home borough of the Bronx,” said Jamaal Bailey, a representative for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
“You don’t have to go outside our neighborhood anymore to hit big name stores,” said John Marano, vice chair of Community Board 10.
The board has also been pleased that Prestige Properties has been receptive to concerns, especially about traffic, said Marano.
“Their doors are always open for us,” he said.
And those major traffic concerns have gone largely unrealized, said Benedetto, thanks to the city and state Department of Transportation’s attention to the issue.
“It’s no where near the problem people said it was going to be,” said Benedetto.
Nevertheless, city and state officials are still looking for ways to better the situation, he said.
“We are continuing to work on transportation improvements to get people in and out of Co-op City and the Bay Plaza Mall in a speedy efficient way.”