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Can Downtown White Plains Save the Galleria Mall?

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Edgarc19 | Wikimedia Commons

After years of economic downturn and a shift away from destination mall culture, plans for the Galleria include open-space and mixed-use development.

The Galleria mall, often referred to as a blight to downtown White Plains, appears to be on the verge of receiving a long-needed makeover. On the heels of the closings of numerous tenants—including anchors Sears and Macy’s—owner Pacific Coast Retail Partners (PCRP) appears set to invest in a multi-million dollar overhaul.

White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach says he expects PCRP to go far beyond a simple refurbish of the Galleria mall, which it purchased in 2016.

“The mall itself, the center building, will be completely rehabbed under the concepts that I’ve seen,” Roach says. “It’s going to be opened up, so you’ll be able to walk through it. You’ll lose that disconnect that the current mall imposes.”

The plan involves the demolition of the Macy’s along Court Street. The newly created area will be used as outdoor space, including dining possibilities. Macy’s sold the building to PCRP for $27 million in 2019. Since then, the retailer has leased the property, and the location is currently in the midst of a store-closing sale.

The tunnel over Martin Luther King Boulevard that runs through the Galleria will be brightened and made more appealing as well.

Referring to “the great wall of the Galleria,” Roach says the rehabilitation of the downtown area including and surrounding the mall was one of his first goals as mayor.

“That section of the city is devoid of street level services, and it is cold and antiseptic,” Roach says. “I think we’re going to turn it into something that’s alive with street life, like what you see on Mamaroneck Avenue.”

PCRP purchased the Galleria at White Plains for an estimated $120 million. The mall includes 865,000 sq. ft. of gross leasable area across four floors. The City of White Plains owns the adjacent 2,800-car parking garage.

“I don’t want to criticize the people in the ’70s and ’80s when they were working on the Galleria, but now the merit of a city is a lively and vibrant downtown,” Roach says. “I can’t get into who else is involved, but there are big investors who will put substantial money into this project.”