Altmark Concept Would Develop Land in Two Phases
A standoff between property owners controlling the bulk of the land in Pelham Manor’s Canal Road Redevelopment District appears to be brewing as the owner of 6 Canal Road said he will not sell the former Exxon site. Instead, he plans to push forward with a two-phase retail development concept he presented to the Board earlier this year.
In an interview with www.pelhamplus.com, Adi Altmark said he intends to develop the Exxon property as part of an assemblage with fellow property owner Vincent Rusciano and others, leaving the development partners of Fisher Brothers and Robert C. Beyer to develop the former site of Imperia Brothers–which they control–separately.
Under Mr. Altmark’s plan, which has yet to be presented as a formal Site Plan application, the former Exxon property and other properties closer to Pelham Parkway on Secor Lane would be developed to include a nearly 69,000 square foot, one story retail building that backs the Hutchinson River. A parking lot would front Secor Lane and a smaller 11,600 square foot 1 story building near the corner of Pelham Parkway and Secor Lane is also included.
He said the development would be consistent with the adjacent Pelham Manor Shopping Center anchored by BJ’s Wholesale Club.
“I have no interest in selling (the property),” said Mr. Altmark, who said he had previously made an offer to purchase the former Imperia Brothers property to the northeast––an offer he said is now off the table. Of the property he owns, Mr. Altmark said: “I purchased it with the intent of developing it myself.”
The remainder of the property, he said, could be a second phase of the development to be undertaken by Mr. Beyer/ Fisher Brothers, independent of his development.
But, Pelham Manor’s Urban Renewal Plan and subsequent Request For Proposal (RFP) have repeatedly called for the assemblage of the entire 13 acre property as a single development. However Mr. Altmark said his two-phase development could be built in concert with one another, even if by two separate developers.
“When you have multiple parcels developed individually, there are setbacks from parking and other things that measure from the property lines,” explained Village Manager John Pierpont of the rationale for seeking a single developer. “When you have multiple pieces of property, you may not be able to get (as much) aggregate square footage on a single larger piece of land. There is more flexibility in the site plan and site layout in terms of maximizing values to the owners and the Village.”
The Village received two submissions responding to the RFP; one from Mr. Beyer and the Fisher Brothers which proposed a single development using the entire property that included plans to build a 90,000-110,000 square foot home improvement store, two smaller buildings catered toward restaurants and a baseball field. The other was also for a single development that would include a 140,000 square foot "upscale Lifestyle/Destination Center" of new buildings at the site. That developer, JMF Properties and Glenco Group currently does not control any of the property, but has been invited to prevent its plans at the Board’s Aug. 17 meeting.
“Right now the fairest thing to say is that the Village is considering the responses to the RFP, which the Board put out for a single aggregated development. That’s where we are right now,” said Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey, who added that the Board would consider Mr. Altmark’s plan if he submitted a formal Site Plan.
If all the owners are not able to agree privately, the Board has threatened to use eminent domain to acquire some, or all of the property and resell it to facilitate a single development.
But, Mr. Altmark said he does not believe going that route is necessary, and could be harmful to the Village. His plan, he said, would avoid a lengthy and costly legal battle.
“Why should we spend years fighting and condemning?” said Mr. Altmark, referring to the eminent domain process. “I believe I have a good relationship with (Village Manager John) Pierpont. I would like to work to bring life to the property.”
In an effort to bring everyone on the same page, Mayor Lapey is working to set up a meeting inviting all the parties to try and get the property owners on the same page. While the mayor is hopeful that meeting will take place in the near future, it is unknown if, or when the Village may decide to step in and force a sale.
“Our goal as a Board has always been to have this property put to better use and have it resolved commercially,” said Mayor Lapey.