After 22 years of appeals, it looks the Palisades Mall has finally received Clarkstown’s blessing to utilize all of its available space.
On Tuesday night Clarkstown voters deliberated on a Referendum that would lift the convent that has prevented the shopping center from opening the roughly 250,000 square feet of “attic space” on the fourth floor for commercial use. At the time of publication the results of that vote are clearly in the mall’s favor: 18,529 residents have voted to lift the restriction while 12,873 would prefer it remain in place. Though 12,500 absentee ballots have yet to be counted, it appears likely that the mall will soon be allowed to open new stores in the space that has sat vacant since the center was opened.
This is the second time that Clarkstown voters have been asked if the mall should be allowed to expand, the town firmly rejected a similar referendum in 2002.
Even if this new referendum passes, Pyramid, the company that owns the mall, would need to apply for Planning Board approval for any increase in leasable space beyond its current 1.854-million-square-foot limit.
Many local leaders including Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and County Executive Ed Day were adamantly in favor of allowing the mall to expand its operations, while some groups such as The Rockland County Civic Association, called for the covenant to remain in place. Proponents of the referendum cited the millions of dollars in tax revenue provided by the mall, feeling it vital that the center be allowed to expand in order to stay in operation. Detractors pointed out the almost all of that revenue is shared with the county, not the town of Clarkstown, which is responsible for paying the cost of police, court, and fire services incurred by the mall.
The mall’s ownership has declined to comment on the election results until an official tally is released later this week.