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Croton's Commercial Real Estate 'Album of Shame'

August 23, 2007

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Similarly, everybody talks about what to do with Croton’s inventory of empty commercial properties, but does anybody really know how many vacancies there are in Croton?

Crotonblog decided to do something about it. And now we present for the record our “Album of Shame” portraying every empty location.

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1.) South Riverside Avenue and Benedict Boulevard

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2.) South Riverside Avenue

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3.) South Riverside Avenue

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4.) South Riverside Avenue

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5.) South Riverside Avenue

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6.) South Riverside Avenue

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7.) South Riverside Avenue

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8.) South Riverside Avenue

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9.) Maple Street

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10.) Maple Street

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11.) Old Post Road

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12.) Grand Street

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13.) Grand Street

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14.) North Riverside Avenue

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15.) North Riverside Avenue

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16.) North Riverside Avenue

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17.) North Riverside Avenue

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18.) Croton Point Avenue

On October 18, 2007 11:45 AM, Andy Singh said:

Hi Guys i was reading your discussion so i thought to post my comments and maybe get some insight on your town. I am resident of New Jersey and I am planning to open a cellphone store in Croton. I am lil worried because it seems lot of small stores seem to run out of business in Croton, I am not sure whats the reason behind that but you guys been living here long time maybe you can help me figure it out. I have few questions maybe you can entertain them.

1) What is the best location to open a cellphone store in Croton and what are chances it will succeed. 2) Do residents from other towns come shop in Croton if yes what other towns 3) Town of Croton do they offer any incentives to new businesses moving from a different state. 4) Location that i have picked is on South Riverside Avenue and rent is approx $3000 a month is that too high or can i get a better deal someplace else.

On October 1, 2007 9:41 AM, notorc said:

A friend who was patronizing Carmen’s was told by Carmen that Commerce Bank is moving into the Croton Dodge building.

Has anyone else heard this rumor? In general any feed back as to the status of these properties?

I had an idea for a store, how about a cigar shop. I like a nice celebratory cigar once in a while but there’s no place to buy them in Croton. I hear the Montrose beer distibutor has a humidor and there might be a place in Ossining. I’m sure patrons from Hudson National as well as the marinas would enjoy a nice cigar while relaxing as well….not to mention the commuters.

And before you ask, NO KWilly, this place will not be allowed to sell pot legally ;^)

On September 30, 2007 7:46 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Dear TeaDrinker,

Thank you for your feedback.

We have gone ahead added pictures of the two commercial properties you mentioned in your earlier comment to the “Album of Shame.”

On September 23, 2007 6:07 PM, KWilly said:

How about a Welcome To Croton Sign at each entrance of Croton.

Kevin W. Davis

On September 23, 2007 3:35 PM, bojangles said:

Why should anyone be surprised at the number of vacant stores in Croton? We are known as a “Croton Residents Only” town and have never put out any semblance of a welcome mat to people without Croton addresses. How can we expect people who have been made to feel so unwelcome to open any kind of business here? It’s not rocket science to know that if you tell “outsiders” not to come and not to use our parks, they will never open a business that will serve only a few thousand elitist Croton residents!

Wake up folks and repeal the ridiculous need for a “Croton ID”. Maybe then some of these “outsiders” will see the wisdom and merit of doing business in our small town.

On September 23, 2007 11:14 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Hey Crotonblog,

In this week’s Gazette, there was a full-page lease advertisement for a office building at 4 Croton Point Avenue. The ad says that the commercial space is 3,000 square feet on three floors for $6.00 per square foot—that’s ~$6,000 per month. This space was previously occupied by Pilates, A Mind Body Spa.

Also, in your “Hall of Shame” photo gallery, you left out the shuttered nail salon next to the Chinese restaurant in the Maple Street strip mall adjacent to the Croton Diner.

Would the blog please add these two businesses to that blog post.

Thanks very much!

On August 29, 2007 10:39 AM, bojangles said:

If one was to log on to Multiple Listing Services for Croton on Hudson commercial real estate, one would discover that it looks like the village of Croton is for sale! The above pictures represent only a small percentage of commercial space available in the Harmon area.

Kudos to Mr. Murray and his committee for taking the lead in coming together to make Croton the viable business community it should be. And to Mr. Kehoe and the Planning Board who hopefully will bring this administration to the realization that they’d better take action and not just give lip service to good creative solutions to a very big problem.

On August 24, 2007 8:55 PM, weewill said:

Chris Kehoe and all Planning Board members have one of the toughest and most demanding jobs in local government. We are in awe of the tremendous responsibilities they carry. They need to keep the past, present and future in mind during every deliberation. They concentrate on the desire to protect and enhance our small town quality of life so treasured by most of us as they consider ideas to improve and move us into the 21st century. Neighborhood character and protection is an important aspect of all their considerations, Traffic patterns must be studied and care taken to minimize adverse impact on our village streets. Zoning rules and regulations, some new and some on the books from long ago, need to be studied and adhered to before any decisions can be made.

The members of the Planning Board do a terrific job. And of course Ann Gallelli, a key member of Kiernan Murray’s citizen’s group, has 20 plus years of experience in planning and village zoning laws. Her knowledge and input will be a tremendous asset to the thought process.

I hope Kiernan’s committee will contact Chris Kehoe soon and have a real brainstorming session. By working together on a suitable strategy for improvement they have a huge shot at success.

On August 24, 2007 6:06 PM, Chris Kehoe said:

I am the Chairman of the Planning Board. I keep up with the Crotonblog fairly regularly and am interested in the ongoing discussions regarding development in the Village. Setting aside any discussion of local politics I just want to share some issues the Planning Board deals with, which I assume most of you know, but should give some insight as to the complexity of issues facing the Board.

The Ocean House is thinking about expanding and has had a preliminary discussion with the Board. As has been posted here this is the type of business that has been featured in the Westchester Magazine and is the type of business the Village might like to see more of. At the preliminary meeting some neighboring residents, as well as Board members, expressed concern about traffic and parking issues associated with the restaurant. We had a lenghty, and I thought productive, discussion regarding creative solutions, valet parking, shared parking, parking enforcement, etc. This casued the owner and their representatives to have to go away work on the issues and hopefully come back with some solutions. I hope this is not considered putting business people through hoops, harming local business, being unfriendly, difficult to deal with, etc.

The new nail salon next to CVS is another example. As has been mentioned here before it is almost impossible to regulate away a nail salon or a pizza place, etc. Certain uses are permitted in certain zones. If the majority of residents or the Village Board don’t want certain uses in certain zones than a process could be started to change the zoning code. However, to some people that would be harmful to business. Getting past that issue, once the Nail Salon was before the Board we closely examined parking. The applicant agreed to bring employees in a van, discussion took place of the new parking permitted on Riverside Ave. across from the Gas Station, the issue of the designated employee parking area was examined. After several meetings the plan was approved. Parking is an issue in that lot, that is well known. However, as everyone knows that store stood vacant for a long time and woud have been a good addition to the recently posted photos of the Blog’s Wall of Shame.

I am not complaining, I knew what I was getting into by serving on the Planning Board but the issues of land use development are complicated. Too much review and we are anti-business and a road block, and a contributor to the vacant buildings throughout the Village. Not enough review and we let down the residents of the Village and the neighbors of the many sites that appear before us and have legitimate issues that need to be discussed.

Chris Kehoe

On August 24, 2007 10:26 AM, weewill said:

Devil’s Advocate posted his or her comment just as I was writing my previous one. Thanks Devil’s Advocate. You are absolutely right. Harmon District property owners did band together to discuss the many empty buildings and closed shops in their commercial section of town. Lacking any concrete action by the Mayor, Chamber of Commerce or now defunct Business Development Committee, the shopkeepers themselves saw fit to face the problems head on.

Kiernan Murray, a local business man took the lead in organizing this group. With the expert guidance of Truistee Ann Gallelli they gathered together interested Harmon property owners and held initial brain storming meetings. These meetings resulted in a variety of ideas, approaches and possible plans to move forward. These ideas were then presented to the Mayor and Trustees at a work session.

This is citizen participation at it’s best. I do believe if the Mayor and Trustees had read Mr. Murray’s “I Have a Dream” comment posted on the Blog they would have taken action themselves.

This is a clear example of residents aiding and abetting the serious work of village government.

Georgianna

P.S. I believe the Mayor is now in full support of this group’s activity and perhaps we’ll get a report of progress at a future Village Board meeting.

On August 24, 2007 9:52 AM, weewill said:

I don’t believe for a minute that the Mayor and Trustees don’t read comments on this blog. And if they don’t, they should. I implore them to begin doing so. We, who take the time to read and comment, are Croton residents who care about our village. We have some sincere ideas for improvement and want to participate in and aid the decision making process of government.

Each of them, Mayor Schmidt and Trustees Brennan and Konig, vowed to represent ALL residents of Croton regardless of party affiliation and personalities. Names, anonymous or not, should not matter. I am concerned they pretend NOT to read or pay attention to comments on the blog. If that’s true, then we are not being adequately represented.

I respectfully and with every good intention urge the Board to begin using every means of communication available. Show us that you hear and are open to new ideas. At the very least, the Mayor and Trustees should respond to emails! Trustee Konig is a published author and writer so she should be very adept at conveying her thoughts and responses in the written word.

We are real people with real concerns and a deep, deep love and caring for Croton. We want to help better our community and work WITH the board to explore and investigate new ways to do business.

Please consider and respect us all and make use of every means of communication.

On August 24, 2007 9:37 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

I guess you all have not been following the Gazette articles on this topic. The mayor has brought all Harmon District commercial property owners together in July to discuss ways the village can improve the commercial situation. Follow up meetings are planned and the meeting was very well received according to the Gazette.

On August 24, 2007 8:36 AM, Mr. Red said:

This is truly a big problem for the town. It is disheartening to see all the businesses that are vacant. It’s unfortunate that the mayor and his majority do not take action and try and think “out of the box” about these issues. On one hand, we have beautiful stores like the Cow, the Pig, Wonderous Things, Groovy on Grand and on the other we have more pizzerias and nail salons than ever before.

Where are the cafe’s? Where are the bakeries? Give me some more restaurants like Ocean House. I know first hand how treacherous it is to open a business in town but they can succeed (despite all the hoops you have to jump through). More people need to take the big leap and try and establish something unique. I think that the town can support it.

We have several businesses highlighted in the best of Westchester annual magazine which proves that our little town has some dedicated shop owners that provide superb product. More pressure needs to be put on the administration to give us more variety and stem the flow of businesses shuttering their doors.

On August 23, 2007 7:56 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Wow! What a great way to show the broad extent of the recession Croton is experiencing in the commercial real estate market. Your “Album of Shame” graphically points the finger right at the one who bear the onus for this sad state of affairs—the person responsible is Mayor Greg Schmidt, who has done nothing to staunch the flow of business from Croton.

Maybe, too, it will muzzle some of the local amateur planners who are quick to suggest ways for others to risk capital by starting a business in these empty properties—but won’t put any money where their mouths are.

As head of the Planning Board, the late Gabe Frayne used to insist that Croton had too much property zoned for commercial use. This album bears out that contention. Your novel photo feature also demonstrates what a powerful role Crotonblog can play in the dissemination of useful information. Keep up the good work!

On August 23, 2007 5:29 PM, weewill said:

What a crying shame! So many unique and quaint little stores that could support unique and quaint small businesses. Residents should ask the Mayor and Trustees what they’re doing to support small shop keepers and to welcome new business. To Ignore the problem only makes it worse. H history shows that desertion spreads like a cancer in a small village.

Our elected officials need to show some leadership now before it’s too late.



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