Chappaqua Crossing developer Summit/Greenfield announced Tuesday morning that it has submitted a proposal to New Castle that include a full-service grocery store and retail, responding to a rezoning proposal from the Town Board to change the site to allow for such uses.
In a press release, Summit/Greenfield describes the new plan, which it said was submitted to the town on Monday.
"The plan includes 120,000 square feet of retail space including the full-service grocery and support retail stores. The retail space would replace an equal amount of existing office space on the site. The grocery would be between 36,000 and 66,000 square feet. The plan specifically excludes “big box” stores and fast food restaurants, neither of which would be permitted in the zone."
The plan comes as the town continues to review the board's proposed legislation for creating a retail overlay zone, which can only be applied to the sites existing commercially zoned section. Under the town's proposal, however, the grocery store must be between 50,000 to 60,000 square feet, a narrow space range than what Summit/Greenfield is proposing. Additionally, ancillary retail use is proposed to be 5,000 square feet each under the town's rezoning plan.
Summit/Greenfield supplied two renderings, one from the southeast and another from the Saw Mill River Parkway. They show new buildings to the southeast of the iconic cupola structure, along with usage of the existing entry ways from Roaring Brook Road and Route 117. The renderings show that the retail and grocery store would be placed at the southern section of the property.
Some residents have blasted the proposal, fearing that it would create traffic problems, bring out a "strip mall" and lead to unfair competition with existing merchants. The Town Board, however, argued that its proposed legislation that the grocery zone could help with the town's commercial tax base and help Chappaqua in terms of being underserved on retail. The hamlet has not had a major grocery store since D'Agostino closed nearly 14 months ago. The Planning Board, in its advisory discussion, has voiced skepticism and will take up the matter again Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with a secondary talk.
Summit/Greenfield's proposal would make sure that any retail architecture is blended into the existing look of the Neo-Georgian brick that marks campus, formerly owned by Reader's Digest.
"The retail area would be located at the southern end of the property," the press release states. "Barton Partners Architects has designed the proposed changes to the existing buildings to blend with the Neo-Georgian brick of the original Reader’s Digest building. The ancillary retail space will have a complementary architectural style."
The proposal includes 600 parking spaces for the retail portion, with offsetting spots added in order to maintain a required 1,680 minimum for the surrounding office zoning district.
Summit/Greenfield plans on restricting delivery truck access to only the Bedford Road (Route 117) entrance, with the current gated access to the property being abolished.
The developer also plans a series of traffic changes to accomodate the retail.
"Under the plan, Summit/Greenfield would make approximately $2 million in traffic infrastructure improvements to Roaring Brook and Bedford roads," according to Tuesday's announcement. "These improvements would include installation of turning lanes for both north and southbound traffic on Bedford Road at Roaring Brook Road and for both east and westbound traffic on Roaring Brook Road at the relocated south driveway. An internal loop road would be maintained to provide easy circulation within the Chappaqua Crossing property."
Meanwhile, Summit/Greenfield intends to pursue an application for site plan review to the Planning Board for the 111 housing units that the Town Board approved rezoning for in April 2011. The developer, which had various proposals since the mid-2000s with far more than that and most recently at 199 units, sued the town in federal and state courts over how the rezoning review was handled. The state lawsuit was dismissed while the federal suit is still pending. Last week, the Town Board gave Summit/Greenfield an extension on the multifamily residential zone, which lasts until April 11, 2013 before it lapses.
Below is a copy of the press release, with italics added for visual differentiation from the story:
PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN IS SUBMITTED
TO TOWN OF NEW CASTLE FOR RETAIL COMPONENT
TO BE BUILT AT CHAPPAQUA CROSSING
Responding to Town Board’s Proposed Retail Zoning,
Plan Includes Full-Service Grocery and Support Retail Stores
CHAPPAQUA, NY (October 16, 2012) -- Responding to a New Castle Town Board proposal to create retail zoning that would allow for construction of a full-service grocery store and ancillary retail stores on a portion of the Chappaqua Crossing campus, the owners of the property has submitted to the Town a petition and plan for retail use on the site.
The Preliminary Development Concept Plan was submitted to the Town on Monday by Summit/Greenfield, who seven years ago acquired the 120-acre property that formerly was the headquarters for the Reader’s Digest Association.
The plan includes 120,000 square feet of retail space including the full-service grocery and support retail stores. The retail space would replace an equal amount of existing office space on the site. The grocery would be between 36,000 and 66,000 square feet. The plan specifically excludes “big box” stores and fast food restaurants, neither of which would be permitted in the zone.
Chappaqua lost its grocery store with the closing of a D’Agostino’s more than a year ago. The Town Board has proposed expanding the permitted use in the BR-O zoning district necessary to allow for a full-service grocery store and support stores to be built at Chappaqua Crossing. Summit/Greenfield said strong interest is being expressed for the site from preeminent grocery companies.
The retail component would tie together and stabilize the entire campus and will provide the Town with much-needed diverse housing alternatives, office space and retail including a grocery store, while generating millions of dollars in tax revenues for the Town and the Chappaqua Central School District. The planned development of this site will serve as a model for how a large, single tenant corporate office campus can be adaptively re-used.
The retail area would be located at the southern end of the property. Barton Partners Architects has designed the proposed changes to the existing buildings to blend with the Neo-Georgian brick of the original Reader’s Digest building. The ancillary retail space will have a complementary architectural style.
The retail center would have 600 parking spaces. Existing parking for the office building that would be used for the retail development will be replaced elsewhere on the site to maintain the required 1,680 spaces for the offices. The balance of the office building would continue in that use. Currently Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco Medical Group, Fiber Media and WeeZee Sensory Gym are tenants.
All truck deliveries to the grocery store would be made to an enclosed, loading dock beneath the grocery store. Deliveries to the smaller stores would be to an area along the rear of the buildings. The office building would continue to be served by its existing loading dock. Truck access to the entire site would be restricted to the Bedford Road (Route 117) entrance.
Chappaqua Crossing would continue to be served by entrances at Bedford Road (Route 117) and two on Roaring Brook Road. Under the plan for the retail, there would no longer be any gated access to the site with all three entrances providing access to the entire property. The southerly entrance on Roaring Brook Road would be shifted to line-up opposite the entrance to Horace Greeley High School.
Under the plan, Summit/Greenfield would make approximately $2 million in traffic infrastructure improvements to Roaring Brook and Bedford roads. These improvements would include installation of turning lanes for both north and southbound traffic on Bedford Road at Roaring Brook Road and for both east and westbound traffic on Roaring Brook Road at the relocated south driveway. An internal loop road would be maintained to provide easy circulation within the Chappaqua Crossing property.
In addition to the office and retail use, under the plan Chappaqua Crossing would also have 111 units of fee simple and condominium housing including 20 affordable units, as approved by the Town Board in April 2011.
Chappaqua Crossing is the largest single tax paying property in the Town of New Castle and in the Chappaqua Central School District. A retail component on the property as envisioned by the Town Board would inject new energy to the property and would stimulate interest in the available office space on the site. Summit/Greenfield views the Town Board’s rezoning plan as an intelligent approach to the property that will benefit Chappaqua residents by providing a much-needed full-service grocery store and substantially boosting the tax base through greater use of one of the few large commercially zoned properties in the town.