NEW YORK — The Mall at Oyster Bay, the high-end shopping center proposed by the Taubman Centers for the site of the former Cerro Wire & Cable Co. factory in Syosset, N.Y., suffered another setback on Friday when an Appellate Division judge reversed an earlier New York State Supreme Court decision that ordered the town of Oyster Bay to issue a special permit for the mall.
The Appellate Division’s decision effectively sends the proposal back to the beginning of the town’s approval process. Taubman said it would immediately appeal the decision. But with the application destined to wend its way through the approval process again, Taubman’s chances of mounting a successful appeal are uncertain.
“We are disappointed that the mall will continue to be delayed, especially during these economic times when jobs are scarce and tax revenue is so desperately needed,” said Steve Kieras, Taubman’s senior vice president of development. “We firmly believe that after years of having our position affirmed in the lower courts, this is clearly a flawed legal decision.”
Lisa Payne, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Taubman Centers, said the company is evaluating the impact of the court decision on its financial statements.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman’s original proposal in 1997 called for a 1 million-square-foot mall to be built on the Cerro Wire property. Since then, the developer downsized the plans to 750,000 square feet.
The community’s opposition to the project was immediate and loud. A group called the Cerro Wire Coalition was formed to fight the proposed shopping center. While local residents in any area often oppose new malls, real estate experts said 13 years of contentious fighting is prolonged by any standards.
The reasons for Taubman’s tenacity include the fact that the Mall at Oyster Bay would be the first new major retail property to be built on Long Island in 30 years. Taubman received commitments from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Barneys New York. The area, in affluent Nassau County, boasts an average household income of $95,000, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
“The Appellate Court decision respects and validates the town’s right to determine local zoning issues,” said Oyster Bay town supervisor John Venditto.
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