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Dynamic Expansion Of Woodbury Common Stands In Sharp Contrast To Inertia At The Palisades Center & The Shops At Nanuet
Unlike the inert state of affairs at both The Palisades Center and The Shops at Nanuet, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets is on the cusp of a $250 million expansion, though it still needs a raft of approvals.
The owner of Woodbury Common, Simon Property Group, plans to add new retail stores, eateries, a hotel and a second parking garage as part of an ongoing effort to expand the shopping destination that sits near the junction of Routes 6, 17 and the New York State Thruway. Woodbury Common, just past Rockland County, is a strong draw for regional shoppers and tourists from New York, New Jersey, and beyond.
Simon Property Group also owns The Shops at Nanuet, which has been in decline for years, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
The Woodbury Common expansion was announced last week by Simon Property Group, though it’s been in the making for five years. The proposal envisions an additional 155,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a parking deck with more than 3,000 spaces, a 200-room hotel, additional storage space for tenant merchants and more walkways, improved crosswalks, enhanced wayfinding, a children’s play area and improved landscaping.
The project needs approval from the Woodbury Planning Board. Woodbury Mayor Andrew Giacomazza has said he potentially supports the expansion.
Orange County over the past several years has been aggressively courting development, with LEGOLAND on Route 17 being a prime example of achieving that goal. Merlin Entertainment initially tried to negotiate for the former Letchworth Village property in the Town of Haverstraw for its park, but community pushback sent them packing. In 2017, Merlin purchased 500 acres off Route 17 where Arden Hill Hospital once stood for its third U.S. entertainment center.
Merlin Entertainment’s $500 million investment is the company’s third U.S. theme park and its tenth worldwide. All seven “lands” of the 150-acre New York Park are now open, and a 250-room hotel with heated pool has been built.
Millions of visitors go to Woodbury Common’s 150-acre mall yearly, with its 250 retail stores and restaurants. It’s a significant tourism magnet – one that brings motorists and bus tours through Rockland County.
The proposed Woodbury Common project would be the mall’s fourth expansion since it opened its doors in 1985. The last update, completed in 2018, included an additional 60,000 square feet of retail space, a full renovation, a four-story parking garage, Market Hall and an entrance building with a new food court.
“Woodbury Common Premium Outlets has been proud to be a dynamic source of economic growth generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue and thousands of jobs, as well as being a caring community neighbor,” David Mistretta, the mall’s general manager, said in a statement. “This visionary proposal will further energize Woodbury Common, Orange County and the entire Hudson Valley as a world-class shopping and tourism destination that is so crucial to the region’s economic success today and in the future.”
Woodbury officials anticipate the expansion plan would create more than 3,000 jobs and construction will generate approximately $250 million for the local and state economies — an expected increase of more than $20 million annually, according to mall officials. Woodbury Common employs 5,000 full-time and part-time workers during peak season.
At the Planning Board’s Sept. 20 meeting, attorneys for Simon Property Group submitted a draft supplemental environmental impact statement, an amended site plan, and applications for a special permit and environmental review. In the amended site proposal, developers have reduced the size of the project by 40,000 square feet, scaled back from two hotels to one, and removed the proposal to include a helipad.
The Planning Board deemed the developer’s draft environmental impact statement incomplete. To determine the project’s impact on traffic, Simon Property Group hired Karl A. Pehnke from Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, to conduct a traffic impact study in June. The study was not yet available.