While site plans had not yet been filed with the City of White Plains as of our publication deadline, it appeared likely that demolition of the existing mall and garages will be part of redeveloping the 10-acre site that”™s been home to The Galleria at White Plains shopping mall and city-owned Lexington-Grove East & West Garages since 1980. The municipal garages next to the Galleria have 2,792 parking spaces.
They want to do residential buildings… but there would be not a mall,” White Plains Mayor Tom Roach told the Business Journals. “The connectivity would be that whatever retail is there you could access from outside and you would be able to walk through the project, across it and lengthwise.”
The Business Journals sought Roach”™s reaction to an announcement that the owners of the Galleria, California-based Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) and Aareal Bank, which is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, are joining with White Plains-based developer Louis Cappelli”™s The Cappelli Organization and SL Green Realty Corp., which is billed as Manhattan”™s largest office landlord, to redevelop the mall site.
Roach said that the announcement did not come as a surprise to the city, since officials have been in regular talks with the mall”™s owners for many months regarding the future of the mall and the status of the city-owned garages.
“The likelihood is that the garage would be removed but we would require as part of any kind of deal that”™s done here that the parking spaces currently being used will be available in the new parking that was requited for a new project,” Roach said. “I don”™t think anyone thinks that that garage is worth keeping. The spaces are worth keeping, but in a more modern structure.”
Roach said that creating a pedestrian-friendly environment would be an important part of what he wants to see in a redevelopment plan. He has been a longtime critic of the stark exterior of the existing mall.
“You”™re going to be looking at residential with some retail and we”™ll see what they come to us with but what I would anticipate is that it”™s going to be something that would permit people to walk though the site,” Roach said. “We definitely want to see more trees, we definitely want to see a recognition of what we”™ve already created on the Court Street end, but make it a place where people will want to walk and spend time, or go shop or whatever, but make it a gathering place.”
Roach said he did not know when a formal proposal would be submitted but figures it will be “sooner rather than later.”
The Galleria has 863,715 square feet of gross leasable area. Macy”™s had anchored the mall at the east end in 328,599 square feet of space. Sears had been at the west end in 227,316 square feet. There had been speculation that residential towers would be proposed for the sites formerly occupied by those anchor stores and the retail space in the center of the property would be maintained.
When the Galleria first opened, it was considered the cornerstone in the urban renewal redevelopment of White Plains”™ downtown.
“This is one of the most exciting mixed-use development sites in the New York Metro Area,“ said Steve Plenge, CEO of PRCP. “We have worked over the past few years to acquire the Macy”™s fee interest at the site, along with the leasehold interest of the former Sears. Working with our new partners, we will reimagine the site as a vibrant mixed-use project that will be centered on residential development and amenity-based retail.”
Cappelli said, “We are extremely pleased for the opportunity to join with SL Green, Aareal Bank Group and Pacific Retail Capital Partners in the redevelopment of the Galleria site. The reimagining of this property is integral to the dramatic transformation of downtown White Plains that is well underway. We are fortunate to be able to play a role in recreating the property with mixed uses, which will link the city”™s transit center with the Mamaroneck Avenue corridor. The Galleria redevelopment comes as our company is beginning the redevelopment of the former White Plains Mall property into Hamilton Green, also a mixed-use project.”
Plenge said that they anticipate closing a portion of the Galleria early next year to begin the redevelopment.
“The Galleria at White Plains is an important property in Westchester County and the region. With our experienced real estate partners, the new masterplan and design will build upon the remarkable renaissance under way in Downtown White Plains,” Plenge said.
SL Green Realty Corp. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that is focused primarily on Manhattan commercial properties. It holds interests in 64 buildings totaling 34.4 million square feet.
The Cappelli Organization has completed more than 25 million square feet of development valued at more than $10 billion. It currently has more than 20 million square feet in its development and construction pipeline. Cappelli is credited with jumpstarting the renaissance of downtown White Plains with its City Center retail and residential project.