Court Overrules Town, OKs Taubman Long Island Mall

The New York State Supreme Court has issued a ruling that the Town of Oyster Bay, on the north shore of Long Island, must issue a long-delayed special-use permit to Taubman Centers Inc. for The Mall at Oyster Bay. The mall, an 750,000-square-foot, roughly $500 million regional center to be anchored by Barneys New York, Nordstrom and what will be Long Island’s only Neiman Marcus, has so far spent more time in court than under construction. “The court has now definitively ruled that there is no legal basis for the town to further delay the mall,” Steve Kieras, Taubman’s senior vice president of development, said in a prepared statement. “We’re very pleased with the judge’s ruling and are prepared to begin construction on The Mall at Oyster Bay pending the town complying with the court’s decision.”As reported by CPN last year, on June 11, 2007, the same court set a 90-day final deadline for the town to either identify evidence that could ostensibly justify its demand for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or else issue the special use permit for the mall. The court had originally ordered the issuance of such a permit in July 2002. “This is our 10th straight court victory,” said Kieras said in the statement, “and we hope this decision will break through the remaining political roadblocks….”Morty Weber of Weber Law Group, which has represented Taubman in this six-year battle, told CPN that although opposition to the mall has partly been a NIMBY matter, “It’s a market-share fight,” too. He told CPN that rival mall developer Simon Property Group has contributed to citizen groups opposing the Oyster Bay center. Simon owns two regional malls 10 miles or less from the Oyster Bay site: the 2.2 million-square-foot Roosevelt Field Mall (the state’s largest) and the 1 million-square-foot Walt Whitman Mall. The Mall at Oyster Bay will be the first new major retail property to open on Long Island in more than 30 years. Its site is a former wire manufacturing plant in the hamlet of Syosset, near the Long Island Expressway and South Oyster Bay Road, where site clean-up and prep work have been completed. Taubman has reported that construction of the mall will generate 3,000 to 3,500 building trades jobs, with 2,000 permanent jobs created once the mall is open. The company also estimates that the center will generate more than $8 million in annual real estate tax revenues for the town and for Nassau County, as well as nearly $30 million in annual sales taxes. Headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Taubman Centers Inc. is a REIT that specializes in developing and managing regional shopping centers, currently owning or managing 24 properties in major U.S. markets. The company’s Taubman Asia subsidiary is developing retail projects in Macao, China, and Incheon, South Korea.