ROTTERDAM SQUARE OPENING SEPT. 1

Marv Cermak Staff writer
Section: LOCAL,  Page: E1

Date: Sunday, July 17, 1988

In about six weeks, the doors will swing wide for the grand opening of the Wilmorite Rotterdam Square, the Capital District's newest shopping mall.


"Let 'em come, we feel we can handle them," town Supervisor James A. Constantino said of the anticipated thousands of Capital District shoppers, many of whom probably have never been in Rotterdam. John R. Kraus, senior vice president of Genesee Management Inc., said the Sept. 1 grand opening of the mall is firm even though previously Wilmorite officials would only say they would be ready for business by the 1988 Christmas season.


"The construction proceeded faster than we expected and 99 percent of our stores will be open on the first day," Kraus said.


Genesee Management handles all the operational chores for the parent Wilmorite firm, which owns 14 shopping malls and has six more coming in various parts of the Eastern seaboard.


Kraus said more than 80 percent of the Rotterdam mall's 800,000 square meet has already been leased.


Kraus said the store will have between 100 and 110 stores, depending on how much space continues to be allocated to incoming tenants. There will be three anchor stores, Hess', Sears and K mart.


Constantino said town police Chief Albert DiCarlo and Deputy Chief Louis Suriano have held several meetings with mall security and management officials.


"Our first concern has been what effect the mall will have on our police resources," Constantino said, noting the town's 39-member force will be beefed up with two new officers to help with the mall and town growth in general.


Constantino said the mall security will be headed by Dennis McKiernan, a recently retired town police sergeant familiar with the department's operations. "We are prepared for mall problems such as bad checks, shoplifting, and unruly congregations of kids.


"The mall security isn't empowered to handle a lot of this so I imagine we'll be involved at the mall on a daily basis," Constantino said.


While the 30,000-plus Rotterdam population makes it the 38th largest town of about 970 in the state, the burgeoning municipality doesn't have a shopping complex anywhere near the size and scope of the incoming Wilmorite operation.


Constantino said he doesn't expect many traffic congestion problems because, he notes, vehicles can disperse in about a half-dozen directions from the Campbell Road mall.


"The mall is well serviced by arterials, two Thruway entrances and I- 88. The anticipated huge increase in traffic volume was addressed in many pre-construction reports that included the completed widening of Campbell Road.


"There's no question traffic will increase in the western part of the town, but we don't expect any problems we can't overcome," Constantino said.


Kraus said, "We're very, very pleased with the way things are going at the Rotterdam mall.


"We're also very excited about planning the grand opening festival, which will feature attractions that have never been done in this area before." He said it is too early to elaborate.


Constantino said the $50 million shopping center will provide about 1,700 retail jobs, a $15 million annual payroll and about $1.5 million in yearly property tax revenue for the town, county and Schalmont Central School District.


Kraus said Rotterdam Square would become the 14th shopping mall operated by Wilmorite Inc., a Rochester- based development firm.


He said a 15th, the Great Northern Mall, is to open Oct. 5 in North Syracuse.


Kraus said Wilmorite already has leased more than 10 million square feet of shopping mall space anchored by its huge 1.3 million-square-foot store in Danbury, Conn., and its 1.2 million-square-foot outlet in Rochester.