BME’s long involvement with the Wilmorite Corporation’s Eastview Mall goes back more than four decades, when Bruce Boncke—well before he and his partners founded BME—worked in concert with Tom Wilmot as the Mall was constructed in 1970. Since BME’s beginnings in 1988, the firm has played a continuing role as Eastview has evolved and expanded to become one of the premier shopping destinations in Western New York.
In addition to the major Lord and Taylor / JC Penny’s wing expansion of the original shopping Mall, outparcel building sites for the Regal Cinema, LL Bean, and BJ’s Wholesale Club have been added over the years, along with Eastview Commons which includes national retailers Target, Staples, Home Depot, Old Navy and Best Buy. At virtually every step, BME has been an important design team partner as the project lead in working through various problem-solving challenges from site design, construction, and the Town of Victor’s considerable review and approval process.
Tying in Another Project Overcame a Major Barrier
Doug Eldred, P.E.
Senior Project Engineer
It may be hard to believe when looking at the vast complex that is Eastview Mall today, but for the first two decades of its existence, Eastview operated on a private septic system. However, when Wilmorite was considering a major expansion of the site in the late 1980s—to include the Food Court and Lord & Taylor wing as well the Regal Theater and the area where BJ’s Wholesale Club is now situated—it became evident that the septic system would be grossly insufficient.
Problem was that, at the time, there was no public sewer in the vicinity, and the closest sewage treatment plant that could handle the projected needs of Eastview was seven miles away in Farmington.
“There was no public sewer line, and the closest sewage treatment plant was seven miles away.”
As it happened, BME was working at the same time with Wilmorite to assess the feasibility for the development of an upscale residential golf course community, for what would ultimately become Cobblestone Creek. The initial evaluation of soil conditions indicated that individual septic systems for the homes and clubhouse was neither environmentally nor economically viable, presenting a major stumbling block for a path forward.
However, we recognized that the Cobblestone site was on a direct line between Eastview and the sewage treatment plant. And, given two significant projects facing the same kind of challenge, we determined that it would be feasible to construct seven miles of public sewer and six pump stations to connect Eastview and Cobblestone with the Farmington treatment plant. Wilmorite agreed and moved forward with the funding of the project. Today, both developments are highly successful and major contributors to the tax base and the quality of life for which the Town of Victor is recognized.
Moving a Mountain for our Client—Literally
Construction Services Manager
Of the many challenges involved in the various phases of expansion of the Eastview Mall site, maybe the biggest—literally—was a 40-foot-high mound that existed between the main shopping Mall and the proposed Eastview Commons development site to the immediate north. Making it even more difficult was the location of two giant T-shaped power transmission towers on top of the mound.
This small mountain was not only a physical impediment to the traffic circulation plan, it also loomed as a ‘show stopper’ for the national retailers who were interested in locating at the Eastview Commons site, because visibility would not have been possible from either Eastview Mall nor from the major highway that provided access to the regional commercial development site.
“We engineered the removal of a 40-foot-high mound and the rebuilding of two giant power transmission towers on top of the mound …without disrupting electric power to millions of customers throughout the northeastern United States.”
Our recommended solution was to eliminate the mound, but that also meant reconstructing the two transmission main towers without disruption of electric power to millions of customers throughout the northeastern United States. We were able to work closely with the New York Power Authority for their review and approval of the construction plans, and to coordinate a unique sequence of construction within a critical time frame. Mammoth helicopters were used to provide replacement towers on successive weekends, along with the subsequent power line relocations, which were successfully re-energized. From there, the “mountain” was removed and the retailers were appeased.
Once again, the cost involved was not small, but the result was another successful expansion of the regional shopping destination and a new area of significant commercial development on the site.
Finding Ways to Meet Stringent Green Space Requirements
Andrew R. Spencer, R.L.A.
The Eastview site is within a highly regulated commercial corridor for which the Town of Victor has established specific guidelines designed to assure that this commercial area will be as functionally and aesthetically pleasing as possible. These standards address details such as the size and type of plant materials, location of screening, signage, and lighting.
Also, there has been a long standing requirement for commercial properties in the Town of Victor to provide a minimum percentage of green space to offset the amount of impervious building and parking coverage on the site. These thresholds have been a challenge in meeting other development objectives.
Obviously, the newest expansions—such as the addition to the front courtyard plaza of the Mall, called for us to find creative ways to comply with both the peripheral corridor parameters and the internal green space percentage requirement.
Our solution actually addressed both challenges at once, which included the creation of larger landscaped islands in the parking areas, which allowed for a more significant landscaped area credit to accommodate larger shade trees and a more attractive landscaped aesthetic. By doing so, we met Victor’s corridor parameters and also maintained the minimum green space percentage requirement.