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Revised Modell's Proposal Pleases Mount Kisco Planning Board Members

Architect Christopher Raffaelli (center), discusses the revised Modell's proposal at a Mount Kisco Planning Board meeting. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a sketch rendering for the proposed Modell's Sporting Goods in Mount Kisco Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of sketch renderings for the proposed Modell's Sporting Goods in Mount Kisco.The rendering is for the side of the building facing East Main Street (Route 117). Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a sketch rendering for the proposed Modell's Sporting Goods in Mount Kisco. The rendering is for the side of the building facing the back parking lot. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A floor plan showing the proposed second-story overhaul of the former Borders site in Mount Kisco. The majority of the space, pictured on the right, would be used by Modell's, which the remaining space pictured on the left would go to another tenant. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
A photo of a proposed floor plate for the former Borders site. Modell's would move into space pictured at upper right, while another tenant would use space pictured at left. A common corridor is pictured at lower right. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- A slimmed-down proposal for Modell's Sporting Goods to move into the former Borders bookstore site has won praise from Mount Kisco Planning Board members.

The Planning Board is slated to vote on whether to approve the project's special permit at its next November meeting after members offered praise at last week's gathering.

"Welcome to the village of Mount Kisco," Planning Board Chairman Joseph Cosentino said to the applicant's team after the latest review. “I'm glad it worked out."

“Big improvement,” said Vice Chairman Anthony Sturniolo, after reviewing aspects of the project.

Christopher Raffaelli, the architect hired by Modell's to work on the proposal. Presented an update that was both smaller in size and has a reconfigured floor plan.

In the revised design, Modell's will take up a total of about 12,800 square feet on both floors of the two-story structure, down from the 16,000-square-foot range first proposed. The building's main entrance on the lower floor, which faces out into a parking lot, will become a common vestibule to be shared by Modell's and a future second tenant for the rest of the building.

The total square footage is more than 22,000 square feet; Raffaelli noted that room intended for a second tenant will include about 6,200 square feet on the upper floor and roughly 1,800 on the lower level.

A common-area corridor in the back of the building's lower level will be set aside. Both tenants will have conveyor systems to load delivered equipment to their allotted spaces, Raffaelli told the board. There will also be conveyor usage and a common space on the second floor.

Another change includes constructing a second elevator on the northern portion of the building that Modell's intends to occupy. The original proposal called for building the second elevator on the southwestern corner of the building, which would have meant erecting a more visible external structure.

Facing East Main Street will be three show windows, according to Raffaelli, which will display mannequins and merchandise that will be rotated seasonally.

Planning Board members panned the look of the earlier iteration during their October meeting, arguing that it was out of place in Mount Kisco's downtown area. The board's dislike of the first version drew frustration from neighboring merchants at that meeting, who support the proposed Modell's as a way to fight losses of sales that they endured since Borders closed in 2011.

At Monday's Village Board of Trustees meeting, Mayor Michael Cindich mentioned his support for the proposal, adding that he reached out to the site's owners and asked them whether they would be willing to help with holiday decorating in the downtown area.

Cindrich, who spoke with several neighboring merchants, disagreed with the pace of the Planning Board's review process prior to its most recent meeting.

“I thought the delays were not warranted.”

The former Borders site is owned by the Modell family, which also owns the eponymous sporting-goods company; founder of commercial real estate firm Lerner Properties; and Lerner's cousin, Richard Grobman.

The trio, who own the property through three limited liability companies, purchased the former Borders site this summer for $6.25 million, according to county records.

The Modell family has a 50-percent stake in the property, while Lerner and Grobman each have 25-percent stakes.

The site was previously owned by an entity called GCCFC 2007-GG11 Kisco Retail, LLC, which acquired it out of a foreclosure auction in August 2014 after making a $6.5 million credit bid.

The entity was the holder of a $6.3 million mortgage taken out on the property in 2007 by prior owner Mt. Kisco Associates, LP, which defaulted on the debt.

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