posted on October 26, 2011 13:30
"Mall" is a bad word for most Batavians. But don't count Vito Gautieri among them.
Gautieri and his Batavia contracting company are in the process of developing a plan, to build a second Batavia mall, to be called the "Ellicott Court Mall." The new downtown structure would be built into the former Latina's grocery on the corner of Ellicott and Jackson streets, with space for multiple small-floorplan merchants.
The new mall would be little more than a stone's throw from Batavia's current mall building, which was built on the North side of Main Street in the 1970's. That mall, which replaced an entire row of Main Street retailers, has largely been considered a failure for nearly all of its four-decade existence.
New City Economic Development Coordinator Julie Paccate confirms the "Ellicott Court Mall" project to WBTA News, and says she's been working to secure consolidated fund applications and grant applications to help it along. Money could come from so-called "adaptive re-use and revitalization" funds.
Pacatte says the old mall's failures have little bearing on the potential success of Ellicott Court Mall.
"I'm not sure of the reason (the old mall) is failing as a retail center," Pacatte said. "Certainly we look at the uses inside, and whether the uses are making sense together. The tenant mix will be critically imporant in the success of the Ellicott Court Mall, and it seems the Gautieri family is committed to signage and visibility from the street."
Pacatte says at least one way to separate from the old mall, is by keeping all office space on the second floor.
"If we're going to do retail – then let's do retail" on the ground floor, she said. "There is an elevator in this project that gives the second-floor office space a greater chance of success, because of the accessibility."
Pacatte acknowledges that downtown Batavia already has several vacant storefronts on Jackson, Main and Ellicott streets – and that far more vacant office space exists on the second and third levels over Main and Jackson.
But she says that's why the mall project is not yet finalized.
"My understanding is that the Gautieri's...will start the construction as they secure tenants, as the dream continues to unfold," she said. "If it isn't going down the path that will have the greatest success, they're open to tweaking that plan."
There is an indoor mall concourse planned for the structure. All shops would open into that space. Parking would remain on the perimeter of the building, as it's currently structured.
Again, the plan is not final, but it could begin as soon as next year. Meanwhile, Save-A-Lot grocery has already begun working towards opening a store inside the existing building at Ellicott and Jackson streets.