ARMONK, N.Y. – The North Castle Town Board is considering a change to its town code that could allow supermarkets and movie theaters in vacant office space in Westchester Business Park. The possible change could drastically affect the business landscape in Armonk.
“The property owners in the business park contribute to the taxes of the town and we should allow them to maximize the flexibility of those buildings,” said Town Board member John Cronin.
The topic was debated at last week’s board meeting as the board went back and forth on expanding the uses of office spaces in Westchester Business Park where many buildings are currently vacant. The discussed change would allow for not only retail businesses to move in to the business park, but also recreational facilities such as a movie theater or ice skating rink. Members Michael Schiliro and Stephen D’Angelo were wary of altering the town code, as it would not give the board the ability to grant a special-use permit.
Schiliro said that allowing retail to move in to current office space facilities without approval from the board would be detrimental to local businesses.
“Creating a retail environment in the business park could have a severe negative impact in the Armonk area,” Schiliro said.
Armonk resident Michael Fareri, owner of 99 Business Park Drive, said that his building has 24,000 square feet of vacant space that has been unoccupied for five years. Fareri said he is currently negotiating with major supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to fill the space but that it is imperative that the board alter the town code to allow retail in the area.
“We now have to make lemonade out of lemons,” Fareri said. “Office space is not in demand today and we need to find alternatives.”
The discussion was adjourned without a decision and board members said the topic will be further discussed at a future work session before voting on the change.