Leaders of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council appear open to revisiting their support for a controversial upscale mall proposed for Syosset.
Council co-vice chairman Kevin Law said the council’s development plan for the region could be amended. The five-year blueprint to create jobs and boost the economy was adopted last year.
Opponents of the mall, which is slated for the former Cerro Wire Mill, have criticized the council for including it among seven “regionally significant” projects. None received money in last year’s statewide competition for state tax credits and grants, while 13 “transformative projects” shared millions of dollars from Albany.
About 80 mall opponents attended the council meeting Wednesday at Stony Brook University. Their lawyer Howard Avrutine asked the council to rescind the “regionally significant” designation because high-profile retailers, such as Neiman Marcus department store, have dropped plans for outlets there.
“We are open to things like that if the facts warrant it,” Law said, referring to the request from mall opponents.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the mall’s developer, Taubman Centers, said Thursday, “By any criteria or economic metric this is a project of strategic regional significance.” It would be the first new regional mall in 40 years in Nassau County and “is a shovel-ready, privately financed project with no need for any taxpayer funding.”
Taubman projects its Mall at Oyster Bay would create 2,000 jobs, $500 million in annual sales, $43.1 million in sales tax collections and pay $9 million in property taxes. “Nothing can be more ‘regionally significant’ to Long Island’s economy than this project. Just ask any taxpayer,” Lewi said.
Pictured: Syosset residents rally last year to protest efforts to build a large mall at the old Cerro Wire company site.