Old business in Cortlandt is generally going as usual, but new business has been slow to take off the ground, according to Cortlandt Planning Director Chris Kehoe.
“Things are a little bit slower now because people may be waiting for economy in general to get better,” said Kehoe. “No one necessary admits that because people want their approvals, but in the old days they’d be back in front of the planning board very quickly, and that isn’t happening as much.”
Projects never move quickly through the Planning board, as the process requires initial approval, environmental impact and other studies, public hearings, for the developer to fulfill numerous requirements and pay fees, and then final approval, which can take a couple of years, but Keyhoe said it has been moving slower than usual.
Several projects that could enhance Cortlandt’s vibrant retail corridor of Route 6 near the Cortlandt Town Center are underway, but some in other areas have stalled. One project that has finally gotten off the ground is Developer Wilder Balter Partner Inc.’s 92 one and two bedroom apartment units in four new buildings in Montrose, near the off Route 9A. It was originally brought to the Planning Board in 1993. The project broke ground last month. (More on this coming soon on Patch).
“We're healthy,” said Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi. “We're growing in the right locations so it doesn't impact our local neighborhoods. We have to make sure the additional traffic doesn't negatively impact the community, and all those things are being addressed.”
Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce Deb Milone said she has seen a “normal” rate of vacancies in Cortlandt. “I can't point my finger and say 'Cortland's suffering greatly,’” Milone said.
“It's the businesses that have opened up under-capitalized that have not understood how to draw in customers-they weren't prepared to weather these storms, and some of them have not succeeded,” Milone added.
The Town of Cortlandt is holding a Shop Cortlandt/Cortlandt Goes Green week from April 27 to May 1 to help promote local businesses and environmentally conscious consumerism and practices. The Town will also launch this month, a television show on Channel 78 that will regularly feature interesting local businesses in town and what they have to offer to the community.
Here is an idea of development that is on the horizon (some are closer than others):
-95,000 square foot retail facility: There is a proposal to build a large shopping center across from the Cortlandt Town Cneter, where Puppies, Puppies, Puppies, a car alarm dealer and an unfinished wood furniture store are currently located –those businesses would have to relocate or shut down. The environmental impact statement has been completed but the public hearing on the project has not been held. The case was first brought to the Planning Board in 2006.
-A new and improved car dealership: Plans to renovate the existing on Route 6, across from the vacant Toyota dealership, and to build an additional 26,000 square foot building have been approved. Keyhoe expects construction to start this summer.
The hospital a 54,000 square foot building that will include a new cancer center planned to open in the fall of this year.
-Construction on 202, by Lafayette and Conklin Avenues: The New York State Department of Transportation has approved and will fund road improvements near the hospital. The improvements will increase safety at the intersections, and include traffic signals at Conklin and Lafayette Avenues with turning lanes and directional green arrows in the signals. Also, it will be synchronized with a new and safer exit from the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Construction is expected to begin around May.
- No application has been filed, but the Keyhoe mentioned the possibility of a drugstore or an Ihop moving into the vacant Toyota dealership on Route 6. Most likely nothing will materialize very soon year since no application has been filed.
-Construction of a 30,000 square foot development: A proposal to knock down an old house near off of Route 6 and replace it with a 30,000 square foot retail and office space gained initial approval. The environmental impact study is complete and went through a public hearing, where residents and the board asked the developer to consider building one large building, rather than two, said Keyhoe.
“Road improvements are being requested of this developer,” Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said. “You can't just have a shopping center coming in without improvements to the area.”
“I have no idea what the timeline is for this, especially with this economy,” Keyhoe said.
Cortlandt Boulevard: Formerly just a store-studded section of Route 6, the section of four-lane road between the Bear Mountain Parkway and the intersection at Lexington Avenue has been renamed Cortlandt Boulevard. The Town had to gain permission from the New York State Department of Transportation to make the change, but local developers paid for the work and signs.
Pond View Renovations: The Pond View developer has submitted an application to the Planning Board to knock down its apartments behind Marshals on Route 6, which is about 56 units and a few old cottages, and redevelop the area with modern townhouses. Environmental studies and a site evaluation have been completed. Keyhoe expects the public hearing to be scheudled for some time in April.
The Planning Board has approved a large expansion of this Furnace Dock Road development, but the developers have not started the construction yet. Keyhoe speculated that the economy and perhaps a lack of prospective tenants may have stalled the project.
-Circuit City: Because Circuit City is bankrupt and there other complications with the local ownership and leasing of the Circuit City building on Route 6, this building will most likely remain vacant for months to come or longer.
Check Patch at 1 p.m. today to see what is going on with Peekskill's economic development this year.
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