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Jul 16, 2020

Clarkstown review board deals blow to Palisades Center on tax grievance

The Palisades Center, already saddled with economic hardships and stymied by an inability to reopen under the state’s pandemic-related guidelines, has been dealt another blow.

The mega-mall’s owner lost a grievance seeking to cut its tax bills in half, according to documents obtained by The Journal News/lohud through a Freedom of Information request.

The July 1 determination by the five-person Clarkstown Board of Assessment Review covering 45 separate parcels comprising the West Nyack mall found the current assessed value was in line with market value of the property, according to documents.

The tax grievance was seeking a reduction in the mall’s current full market value of approximately $466 million to approximately $230 million, and a reduction in its assessed value from approximately $140 million to $69 million.

EklecCo NewCo, an LLC that owns and operates the Palisades Center, has 30 days to file a legal challenge. Company representatives declined comment on the determination.

‘Significant decline’ in income

The mall owner’s grievance, filed May 15, states that even before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, the shopping center was already confronting economic challenges that caused a “significant decline” in income due to e-commerce, bankruptcies and store closures.

Almost all tenants had stopped paying rent, causing problems with its ability to meet its mortgage obligations and with “no discernible new financing sources,” according to documents.

Even after the mall is permitted to become fully operational, the owner predicts many stores will not be able to reopen.

Since the grievance was filed, stores in the Palisades Center with separate entrances have been allowed to reopen with certain restrictions and others are offering curbside pickup.

But most tenants — including more than 40 food and beverage businesses — have remained shuttered even as restaurants and businesses elsewhere in the mid-Hudson Region have reopened under the state’s Phase 3 metrics.

Expansion referendum looms

While the mall’s owner continues a legal battle with Clarkstown over its attempt to lift the restrictions stopping it from expanding without voter approval, the Town Board is moving toward approving a referendum that would put the question on the November ballot.

Voter approval would remove restrictions on the mall’s indoor space, allow it to diversify outside the walls of its current building and potentially redevelop the property. It would not allow residential construction.

EklecCo NewCo has indicated in the past that it wants to fill about 250,000 square feet on the mall’s fourth floor and add a parking deck.

Published by Iohud

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