After more than a year of planning and discussion, the city has killed the application for the controversial Baychester Square shopping center project.
Councilman Andy King announced the development in a press statement on Wednesday, August 9.
He thanked the mayor for listening to the community’s concerns about the proposed project.
“It’s my understanding that the administration realized that the City Council was planning to vote against this project today as a result of the strong community opposition shown in the months leading up to this decision,” King stated.
King also thanked constituents who signed petitions against the project, as well as fellow elected leaders James Vacca and Ritchie Torres, who had also opposed the project.
The councilman has been a vocal opponent of the project, arguing his district did not need more low-wage jobs and had argued instead for a school or corporate park that would provide better paying positions.
“We now have to go back to the drawing board and I am committed to working with the MTA, the administration and most important, the local residents who live near this site and find common ground in moving forward with a better plan,” King stated.
The shopping center was to be built on a former golf driving range along East Gun Hill Road and I-95 and across from the Home Depot shopping plaza.
Plans by developer Grid Properties for the outdoor shopping center included five blocks of shopping and a senior housing facility.
Grid Properties principal Drew Greenwald had positioned Baychester Square as an outdoor retail center with numerous shopping and dining options, similar to Cross County Shopping Center and Ridge Hill in Yonkers.
Greenwald could not be reached for comment before press time.
Community Board 12 had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the project in March, and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. had also thrown his support behind the project on the condition that a deed restriction be created to keep the project from being developed as an outlet mall.
CB 12 district manager George Torres confirmed the news, and said he had been notified of the latest development by the NYC Economic Development Corporation.
Board chairman William Hall called the property an eyesore and a source of community complaints, and called the lack of imminent change at the site dissapointing.
“We hope that today’s developments are a minor setback,” Hall said. “Community Board 12 voted in support of this project for all of the benefits this developmennt will bring to the community. It is our hope that administration and city council will revisit this issue and work towards an amicable solution. This community and the Bronx overall need more retail options in addition to the senior housing that was going to be created.”
The proposed project had received consistent criticism from Prestige Properties, which owns the Bay Plaza and adjacent indoor mall, The Mall at Bay Plaza.
The company argued building a second large shopping center right across the highway would hurt its businesses and result in a loss of jobs.
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