Consumers who frequent the Bay Terrace Shopping Center have several changes to look forward to in the coming months. Cord Meyer Development Co. representatives revealed new plans for the property and addressed concerns at the Jan. 22 meeting of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance.
Empty space on the second level may soon be home to new eateries such as a steak house and an Italian restaurant. “Unfortunately, things are slow because of the economy, but we are working on some nice things,” said Mary Hughes, vice president of leasing for Cord Meyer.
Hughes explained that there had been a deal with Petco for that space, but it did not work out. Rumors that a Trader Joe’s was coming to the shopping center had circulated, but Hughes said that is not possible due to lease restrictions with Waldbaum’s.
Reports about a Panera Breads opening in the FedEx Kinko’s and Camelot space, however, were confirmed. “We should see construction plans in about three weeks and an opening by early summer,” Hughes told attendees of the standing-room-only meeting.
She also dispelled rumors about a New York Sports Club coming to the center, explaining that a gym facility would require a change of use in the lease agreement and there is no guarantee for such a change.
The five representatives of Cord Meyer, including Anthony Colletti, its chief financial officer, stood at the head of the crowd as local residents and community leaders offered praise, questions and concerns.
“We are accountable,” Colletti said. “We don’t just build and leave; we’ve been there for a long time,” he said, assuring members of the community that all complaints would be heard.
Cord Meyer has a 104-year history and a 60-year history at the shopping center.
Colletti responded to one resident’s concern about the ever-popular Ben’s Deli. “We are pleased they are staying,” he said. “We wish them to stay forever.”
After months of negotiations and no resolution, the deli reported last November that it would leave the property. Earlier this month, however, the deli renewed its lease and will remain at its current location.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) made an appearance at the meeting and offered good words about Cord Meyer and encouraged everyone to “come out and patronize the stores.”
Community members eagerly raised their hands hoping for their chance to speak. Some complimented Cord Meyer for the cleanliness of the property and good security. Others expressed concern over traffic and pedestrian safety.
Cord Meyer officials explained that they are not able to write traffic summons and that traffic laws are not enforced in parking lots in New York City.
In response to various suggestions, Cord Meyer officials said installing a trolley on the site is not feasible due to expense, liability and traffic. They also said having a sidewalk run across the parking lot is “impractical.”
Representatives from Waldbaum’s were also present at the meeting. Community members commented on various issues such as prices, availability of organic foods and the lack of delivery service.
“I’m here for you. I listen to every word you say,” said Bill Reilly, representative for Waldbaum’s, as he wrote down every comment. “Some things we can do, other things are harder.”
BTCA President Warren Schreiber ended the meeting by assuring attendees that the civic association is working on a community survey in which residents will be able to report their concerns and suggestions.