May 12th, 2010A Scenic Village That Knew What It Wanted, and Got It
Pelham Manor, N.Y. — A decade ago, this suburb in southern Westchester County, where well-kept 1920s Tudor and colonial houses command some of the highest prices in the county, was home to a blighted industrial area bordering the Bronx to the south and Mount Vernon to the west.
The site, 75 acres in the southwest corner of the village with cracked pavement, vacant warehouses and a struggling strip mall, was not just an eyesore. Officials in the 1.2-square-mile village thought it should be generating enough property tax revenue to offset some of the burden carried by homeowners.
“In short, it was pretty valuable real estate down there that had not been developed to its highest and best use,” said John C. Hays, the mayor of Pelham Manor since last year.
Now much of that blight is gone. Big-box outlets like a 130,000-square-foot B. J.’s Wholesale Club and a 75,000-square-foot Fairway grocery store, which opened last month, are the anchor for two busy retail plazas that attract shoppers from Westchester County and New York City. The area is just west of the Hutchinson River Parkway and north of Interstate 95, along Boston Post Road and Pelham Parkway.
The changes have not come easily. It took more than a decade to overhaul zoning in the village of some 5,500 residents, fight a court challenge to the new rules and clean up contamination in the ground, among other things, before the resurrection of the area could occur.
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