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PURCHASE, NY-Construction has begun on the redevelopment of the storied Orange Plaza shopping center in Walkill (Orange County) that will transform the facility from a vacant and outdated one million sf enclosed mall to a 900,000 sf open-air power center. National Realty officials estimate that the construction project will cost between $60 million to $80 million to complete.

The plan calls for the upper level of the shopping center, which faces Route 211, to contain a Wal-Mart super center of approximately 200,000 sf and a Kohl’s department store that will be nearly 86,000 sf. The lower level, which faces the Dunning Farms Center, will feature an existing Home Depot; a 30,000 sf Bed Bath & Beyond; a 30,000 sf Marshall’s department store; a 25,000 sf The Rag Shop location and a new Circuit City store of approximately 35,000 sf, and some other “mid-sized junior anchor tenants: and a number of specialty stores, according to National Realty and Development Leasing Representative Daniel Dori. Circuit City already operates out of a relatively new store location nearby; however, Dori says that the firm has signed a lease to have the store relocate to the nearby Orange Plaza facility.

In addition to Home Depot on the lower level, other existing tenants at the site, that is located nearby Middletown, include: Big Kmart, the Bank of New York, Middletown Savings Bank, Red Lobster, Taco Bell and KFC, which all have free-standing locations on the top level of the Orange Plaza site.

Plans call for the demolition of a portion of the existing vacant mall component of the site, which will be rebuilt into a 900,000 sf power center by Regional Construction Corp., a subsidiary of Purchase-based National Realty and Development Corp.

The Orange Plaza Mall was first built in 1971 and was anchored by such tenants as JC Penney, Sears and Sullivan’s department store. However, eventually Orange Plaza lost its main anchors JC Penney and Sears when Pyramid Companies of Syracuse built the Galleria at Crystal Run in 1992. Since the mid 1990s, Orange Plaza became vacant with the exception of small discount oriented retailers that have all eventually shuttered their doors.

Construction on the Orange Plaza power center project’s completion is expected sometime in the fall of 2001, Dori says.

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