Plans are being created to redevelop the Galleria shopping mall in downtown White Plains into a massive mixed-use project that could involve demolishing part or all of the structure, according to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach.
In a conversation with the Business Journal Wednesday, Roach described what’s taking shape as what could be “the biggest development project” for the city.
The Business Journal talked to Roach before and after a news conference that was held to announce that installation of solar panels is underway at various city buildings. (A separate story will be forthcoming on the solar project.)
The Galleria has lost both of its major anchor stores, Sears, which has already closed and Macy’s, which is in the process of holding store closing sales. The Galleria is owned by Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) based in El Segundo, California. The company said it has more than $3 billion in retail assets currently under management. Previous anchors at the Galleria included Abraham & Straus and JCPenney.
The mayor revealed that the city had been involved in “serious” ongoing talks regarding redevelopment of the mall site. He said that as owner of the municipal garage adjacent to the mall, the city has a distinct interest in the property.
Roach for several years expressed his concern that the mall’s streetscape is not pedestrian and shopper friendly and he has called for enhancing the frontage, specially along Main Street, to make it more enticing and eliminate the stretches of blank wall that people currently face. General concepts previously were floated to reposition the Galleria as more of an entertainment destination, but that did not take place.
“They wanted those stores out. Those buildings are getting knocked down,” Roach said. “It’s going to probably be the biggest development project that the city’s going to see. So, that’s a positive. They wanted to get Sears out for a while, and now Macy’s.”
Roach emphasized that the mall’s owners are well capitalized and the project would represent a very large expenditure. He did not have a timetable for when redevelopment plans might be formally submitted but indicated that steady progress is being made in creating them.
The Galleria was built by Cadillac Fairview and opened in the summer of 1980. It straddles two city blocks, with Martin King Jr. Boulevard running under an elevated section of the garage.
The Galleria was credited with jumpstarting the rebirth of the city, which had been in the midst of an urban renewal effort that cleared-out large portions of the downtown. According to PRCP, the mall has 865,000 gross leasable square feet in its four levels. It counts 2,840 available parking spaces. PRCP bought the mall in 2016 from the Simon Property Group for about $120 million.
The Galleria is diagonally across from the site of the two 43-story Ritz-Carlton Residence towers built by developer Louis Cappelli that includes 374 condominiums, a hotel, 70,000 square feet of offices and a 900-car underground garage.