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Appellate court hearing Wednesday for vacant Lord & Taylor in Eastview Mall, Victor

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wednesday, a court battle over what to do with the vacant Lord & Taylor space in Eastview Mall was held in Rochester.

The store has been vacant since 2021, and Hudson’s Bay Company, the owner of the Lord & Taylor brand, still owns the property.

The town of Victor has tried to take over the space using eminent domain, and in 2022, a state court ruled against the town. The judge in that decision said the town’s plan in the original filing to take over the space was not detailed enough.

It was revealed in State Appellate Court Wednesday that Wilmorite — the developer of the mall has two tenants lined up for the space — as part of the new plan from the town.

The plan looks to convert the 93,000 sq. ft. space into a space for an international fashion retailer, a local grocer, and a municipal space that Victor would lease from Wilmroite.

Eminent domain is a power that municipalities can exercise to take over private property for public use, provided the property is blighted, is part of a redevelopment plan, and serves the public interest.

Wednesday, in the Fourth Department of New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, both a judge and a representative for the town cited other recent appellate decisions favored a similar use of eminent domain; specifically citing a J.C. Penney ruling in Amherst.

“If you already have a developer who is capable of doing these things, and you just want to bring in your favorite developer, that doesn’t fly, that’s a pretext,” said a representative for HBC in the courtroom, when the J.C. Penney case was brought up. “The incidental jobs or the tax, will that be a potential public benefit if that happens? Sure. But has (the town) shown a record that demonstrates with data… What you’re proposing to do, by taking it from ‘developer A’ to ‘developer B’ to achieve that goal? If not, that’s illusory.”

A representative for the town says a vacant mall is against the public interest, and therefore putting tenants in it would constitute public interest. He added that HBC is not prioritizing this location enough, as the mall is key to Victor’s and Ontario County’s economic health.

“This multi-year vacancy has had a detrimental effect on the mall, on foot traffic, vacancy rates,” he said. “In that wing of the mall went from 2 vacancies in 2018 to 16 vacancies by the end of 2022, and by the end of 2026, we could have an 80% vacancy rate, that’s in the public record.”

News 8 has reached out to Wilmorite, Victor, and HBC for additional comment, and has not heard back yet

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wednesday, a court battle over what to do with the vacant Lord & Taylor space in Eastview Mall was held in Rochester.

The store has been vacant since 2021, and Hudson’s Bay Company, the owner of the Lord & Taylor brand, still owns the property.

The town of Victor has tried to take over the space using eminent domain, and in 2022, a state court ruled against the town. The judge in that decision said the town’s plan in the original filing to take over the space was not detailed enough.

It was revealed in State Appellate Court Wednesday that Wilmorite — the developer of the mall has two tenants lined up for the space — as part of the new plan from the town.

The plan looks to convert the 93,000 sq. ft. space into a space for an international fashion retailer, a local grocer, and a municipal space that Victor would lease from Wilmroite.

Eminent domain is a power that municipalities can exercise to take over private property for public use, provided the property is blighted, is part of a redevelopment plan, and serves the public interest.

Wednesday, in the Fourth Department of New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, both a judge and a representative for the town cited other recent appellate decisions favored a similar use of eminent domain; specifically citing a J.C. Penney ruling in Amherst.

“If you already have a developer who is capable of doing these things, and you just want to bring in your favorite developer, that doesn’t fly, that’s a pretext,” said a representative for HBC in the courtroom, when the J.C. Penney case was brought up. “The incidental jobs or the tax, will that be a potential public benefit if that happens? Sure. But has (the town) shown a record that demonstrates with data… What you’re proposing to do, by taking it from ‘developer A’ to ‘developer B’ to achieve that goal? If not, that’s illusory.”

A representative for the town says a vacant mall is against the public interest, and therefore putting tenants in it would constitute public interest. He added that HBC is not prioritizing this location enough, as the mall is key to Victor’s and Ontario County’s economic health.

“This multi-year vacancy has had a detrimental effect on the mall, on foot traffic, vacancy rates,” he said. “In that wing of the mall went from 2 vacancies in 2018 to 16 vacancies by the end of 2022, and by the end of 2026, we could have an 80% vacancy rate, that’s in the public record.”

News 8 has reached out to Wilmorite, Victor, and HBC for additional comment, and has not heard back yet Read More DevelopmentRochesterFirst  

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