Stop, Shop and Drop

Simon says Shops at Nanuet will have something for everyone

By Kathy Kahn

Shops at Nanuet readying for October 10 opening
Shops at Nanuet readying for October 10 opening

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the old Nanuet Mall’s transformation to Shops at Nanuet will certainly offer a new experience for Rocklanders and its visitors.

With all the construction and landscaping activity inside the stores and out in the parking lots, there’s little doubt it will open as scheduled-Thursday, October 10-just in time for Columbus Day weekend warriors.

During summer’s last hurrah, 90-degree heat didn’t deter hundreds of job seekers from lining up at Comfort Inn’s job fair at 8:00 am August 29. “For most of the day, people were waiting on line for 45 minutes or more,” said Ryan Hidalgo, mall manager. “Coach told us they gave out over 500 applications, and Fairway Market was hiring on the spot.” As more stores open, they’ll be taking applications.

Simon Property Group held one last media tour before the official opening. “We expect to have at least 30 stores open on October 10,” said Hidalgo, “with a few more opening in time for Black Friday and the rest coming after the New Year.”

Most, if not all, of the outdoor retailers along Fashion Drive’s circular road will be under a canopy, making it easier for shoppers to go from one store to the other, rain or shine. Shops at Nanuet’s 63 acres will hold 750,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and room for 3,500 parking spots.

More than 300 hopefuls were on line to fill out job applications at Shops at Nanuet’s job fair on August 29.
More than 300 hopefuls were on line to fill out job applications at Shops at Nanuet’s job fair on August 29.

“We had a lot of community input on this during the planning sessions,” said Hidalgo. “People told us what they hoped to see, and we listened. This is Main Street shopping with 21st century flair.”

Stores making a first appearance in Rockland include Coach, Michael Kors and lululemon. It will also host upscale Fairway Market, a first for Rockland and for Simon’s cadre of stores as well.

Other stores include Apple, Bath & Body Works, Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret, Gap and Baby Gap, among other trendy shops. There will also be a bevy of restaurants to choose from, including P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Banchetto Feast, Cups Frozen Yogurt, Corner Bakery Café, Bonefish Grill and Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar. Macy’s and Sears, which retained their own pad sites when Simon bought Nanuet Mall, each gained a facelift to complement the new mall, as well as entrances on the mall’s street level.

After you’ve worked up a sweat, you can either relax at the 12 screen Regal Cinema or work off the extra pounds at 24 Hour Fitness (or go home and collapse on the sofa.) Simon has pulled out all the stops to create a mall that has something for everyone.

Linda Morris of New City, a regular Sears shopper, said she is thrilled at the changes coming and can’t wait for the new center to open. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Morris. “It’s going to be really nice to have a mall here again, especially like the one I’ve been watching come to life.”

“It is just a different shopping experience than the traditional mall,” said Tom Schneider, executive vice president for Simon Property Group during a media tour in May, 2013. Simon owns both indoor and outdoor malls, with Woodbury Common in Central Valley among the brightest jewels in its crown.

Aerial view of new shopping center on Route 59 in Nanuet
Aerial view of new shopping center on Route 59 in Nanuet

The Department of Labor’s latest jobs report released on August 15 said the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.5 percent, while Putnam, Rockland and Westchester have shown a slightly improved picture, with an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent.

Simon executives say more than 2,000 construction jobs were created by the demolition of the old mall and rebuilding the new one, as well as at least 400 new permanent jobs.

With more than 80 million jobs lost since the Great Recession, it still isn’t easy parting with the green for many shoppers. That hasn’t stopped Simon Property Group from continuing to add to its repertoire of retail holdings. Even if the economy still seems a bit wobbly, Shops at Nanuet is expecting to be a magnet for Rockland and surrounding counties.

According to the National Retail Federation’s president and CEO Michael Shay in an interview with CNBC on August 15, consumers are out spending, but much more cautious about discretionary spending, a trend that has continued since the financial crash five years ago. Simon isn’t saying, but no doubt principals are counting on the curb appeal the Shops at Nanuet will offer the public.

Rockland Plaza, Shops at Nanuet’s neighbor, is glad more shoppers will be coming to the area. “It will certainly complement Route 59,” said one Barnes & Noble manager. We have many fine stores here that complement what it will be offering.”