Macy’s to anchor new mall at Bay Plaza

The Bronx’ newest retail hub will feature the borough’s second Macy’s.

Developer Prestige Properties announced on Wednesday, November 9 that it is planning to break ground on a new $270 million, 780,000 square-foot enclosed shopping mall that will be part of Bay Plaza Shopping Center. The development, which is called the Mall at Bay Plaza will be anchored by the new Macy’s, which is slated to occupy 160,000 square feet on three floors.

Construction on the new mall is expected begin in spring 2012 with completion likely in either late 2013 or early 2014. It will combine with the already-existing Bay Plaza Shopping Center to create a total of 2 million square feet of retail space.

Details of the Macy’s lease were not released, but other space at the new mall is expected to rent for $100-$200 per square foot.

“I think we’re targeting the typical suburban mall tenants,” Prestige CEO Sam Shalem said of the expected composition of the new mall. “The Victoria’s Secrets of the world, the Gap, all these upper-middle class types of retailers.”

The Mall at Bay Plaza will also include part of an already-existing JCPenney.

Prestige, which owns the entire Bay Plaza Shopping Center, said in a statement that it expects the project will provide over 2,000 construction jobs and over 1,700 permanent jobs.

As for customers, Shalem thinks that nearby Co-op City will provide a solid base that will be supplemented by shoppers from around the Bronx.

“Co-op City is very important to us,” Shalem said. “And it’s very important to us to be able to offer this to (residents there). I’m very thrilled for the community.”

Joe Comparetto, a vice president at Prestige, has been overseeing traffic and transportation issues related to the project. He said the company has been working with the city Department of Transportation to overhaul the intersection of Bartow and Baychester avenues, and the state DOT about widening exits off I-95. Prestige has also hired engineers to make suggestions about how best to handle traffic flow in and out of the new mall.

“We’re pretty much prepared for the increases in traffic,” Comparetto said. “We pride ourselves in being good neighbors.”

Community Board 10 district manager Ken Kearns said the addition of Macy’s would be a positive, but he would be closely monitoring the transportation situation.

“It’s always good, from an economic development perspective, to have a retailer with the stature of Macy’s,” he said. “But there are genuine concerns about traffic.”

Jim Sluzewski, a communications vice president for Macy’s said that Cincinnati, Ohio-based company was excited about expanding its footprint in New York City, especially at a time in which so few malls are opening across the country due to the state of the economy.

“In recent years we have not been opening many new Macy’s stores,” he said. There haven’t been new shopping centers opening across the country.

“It was a good opportunity to expand Macy’s presence in a center that’s expanding.”

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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