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Shopping center to be built at former golf range

Bronx Times
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A former golf property is slated to become the next Bronx shopping mall.

There are plans to construct a triple-A tenant outlet center at the abandoned Bronx Golf Center, a shuttered golf driving range located on East Gun Hill Road near the New England Thruway/I-95.

The proposed shopping center, dubbed Baychester Square, will feature the equivalent of six blocks of retail and restaurant businesses, with shopping amenities such as benches and walkways aimed to create a pleasurable shopping experience, according to Grid Properties, one of the project’s developers.

More specifically, the 12-acre property, which has been vacant for years, will provide 350,000 buildable square feet in a two-story shopping complex.

There will be approximately 1200 customer parking spaces, including 700 indoor and 500.

The second floor of the complex will be designated for larger businesses, while smaller stores and shops will occupy the ground level.

The project will include over an acre of public outdoor space.

The project will also include the construction of Two affordable housing buildings, intended for seniors, will complete the development of the site.

The senior units will be located on the western side of the property, along Gun Hill Road, near the little league fields.

Between 180-200 units will be available.

The Gotham Organization, who has partnered with Grid Properties on previous projects and is responsible for over 30,000 housing units in NYC, will tackle the residential portion of the project.

The property was previously owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. It was sold to Grid Properties and the Gotham Organization for $30.5 million in 2014.

According to Grid Properties, the project fits the areas.

“With this upcoming project, we (Grid Properties and the Gotham Organization) hope to create not just a shopping center but an area with an exciting and vibrant atmosphere for the areas residents,” said Drew Greenwald, principal of Grid Properties. “We are very excited for the community to have an enjoyable and fun experience....”

Greenwald added that lengthy approval processes, which include a Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), construction of the site will probably not begin for another 15 to 18 months.

He expects at least a portion of the center to be completed by 2019. He compared the project to a smaller scale version of the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers.

According to community boards 11 and 12, however, this project has posed concerns regarding the traffic that it would generate, being located next to I-95 and across the street from another shopping complex that includes Home Depot, Planet Fitness and TGI Fridays.

This project sounds like a wonderful idea but we need to have a number of meetings with the developers, because my board currently knows nothing about it,” said George Torres, district manager of CB 12.

“The most pressing concern is the traffic - will most of the customers drive there? If so, traffic congestion may pose a big issue, especially with other shopping complexes in the area.”

Torres wondered if all the shopping centers can co-exist.

“It works in White Plains with the Westchester Mall and the Galleria - but will it work here? I am not at all against the project - in fact, I encourage the developers to reach out and if they did, I would be more than receptive to their plans.”

CB 11 said that it has held meetings with CB 12 and hopes to meet the project’s developers in the near future.

The Mall at Bay Plaza, located on the opposite side of I-95, declined to comment on the project for the article.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.
Updated 5:03 pm, July 9, 2018
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