This billboard near the Cerro Wire property has been advertising the anti-mall crowd's message.
This billboard near the Cerro Wire property has been advertising the anti-mall crowd’s message.

Oyster Bay town voters approved a referendum Tuesday allowing the municipality to sell its 54-acre public works facility in Syosset for $32.5 million—a rejection by proxy of a proposed mall nearby.

Taubman Centers, Inc., the Michigan-based firm that has been trying to build The Mall at Oyster Bay where Robins Lane meets the Long Island Expressway, was opposed to the sale because it wanted to buy the land adjacent to the 39-acre Cerro Wire property that it bought nearly 20 years ago.

“The residents of the Town of Oyster Bay are much more intelligent, sophisticated, and well informed than Taubman gave them credit for,” Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto said in a statement. “There was never any doubt in my mind that the residents of the Town of Oyster Bay would do the right thing, and they did.”

Buying the land is Oyster Bay Realty LLC, which funded by Simon Property Group, the developers of the Walt Whitman and Roosevelt Field malls that. The company has agreed not to build a mall on the property.

Mall or Nothing: The Battle Over Syosset Shopping Center

“Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Oyster Bay, the Town and Simon’s misinformation campaign allowed them to slip their rotten deal past the public in a low turnout election,” Long Island Jobs Now, a Taubman affiliated group opposed to the referendum, said in a statement.

“The referendum was never about a mall, which can still be built on Taubman’s property,” the statement continued. “We will continue to push this case in the courts and are committed to making sure the Town acts in the best interests of its taxpayers rather than Simon Property Group – whose only interest is maintaining its mall monopoly.”

Venditto had choice words for Taubman, as well.

“The residents of the Town of Oyster Bay have spoken and by a 2:1 margin, rejected Taubman’s mall, Taubman’s greed, and Taubman’s shameful and unethical behavior throughout the entire referendum campaign,” the supervisor said.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.