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August 20, 2014
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Tomatoes, fish and energy at the landfill

Don McCormick


The two developers pursuing that part of the plan have both indicated that they would be glad to work with Carbon Harvest, but they have offered dramatically differing views about the best use of the overall site. Michael Kaplan, the developer who created, among other things, the Monticello Motor Club, said that his plan involves luring one or more big box stores, such as Sam’s Club or Costco to the site, and ultimately to create more than $750,000 square feet of retail.

Kaplan said the large retailers are interested in the site because of the new exit ramp being constructed from Route 17B, the future I-86, which will exit right in front of the abandoned plaza. Kaplan was emphatic, however, that the big retailers would not be interested in the site unless the existing mall, which has been empty for more than five years, is demolished. Kaplan said, “I can’t attract any retailer with the existing building there.”

Lawyer Jacob Billig, representing the Resnick Supermarket Equipment Corporation, on the other hand said the best way to proceed with developing the site is to renovate the existing building and turn it into “top shelf space.” He said the benefit with his proposal was that because the building is an existing structure, work could begin almost immediately. Conversely, if the building were to be demolished and all new ones built, numerous environmental hurdles would have to be surmounted and the process could take several years. (Kaplan said it might take 18 months.)

Resnick had earlier also proposed building a truck stop and motel at the site, but that would be put off to the future, and would not be included if lawmakers objected.
The presentations by Billig and Kaplan suggested that the two developers were not inclined to work with each other in developing the site. But lawmaker Leni Binder said the site is a big one, and perhaps the two organizations will yet find away to accommodate both visions for its futur