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Big changes planned for Yonkers mixed-use center

Al Urbanski
Ridge Hill is straddled by two of the busiest highways in the New York metropolitan area.

The best and brightest mixed-use center in New York’s affluent Westchester County is about to get much, much brighter, according to its new owner North American Properties.

Ridge Hill, which poises high-impact restaurants and retailers like Cheesecake Factory and Whole Foods alongside offices and luxury apartments on a scenic hilltop in Yonkers, was sold by Australian developer QIC to NAP, Nuveen Real Estate, and Taconic Partners last year.  The company known for trend-setting developments and redevelopments such as Avalon and Atlantic Station in Atlanta wasted no time  fashioning a new identity for the property.

“This is a region with a high barrier to entry. It’s nearly impossible to find a piece of land that big in Westchester County,” said NAP managing partner Tim Perry of the 84-acre property that QIC bought from the city of Yonkers.

One of the imperatives facing Perry and his team is the creation of new traffic flows to the center, which sits between the busy New York Thruway and Sprain Brook Parkway. Cars climbing  a steep hill to enter the center off the Sprain are first greeted by Lowe’s and Whole Foods and may not be drawn into the downtown-like streets of Ridge Hill.

“The whole rest of the center can’t depend on an anchor like Whole Foods. You can’t just build-it-and-they-will-come,” Perry said. "What we need to do is stack experiences. Toddler events at 10 a.m. At noon, stop in for lunch at one of our casual dining spots. Bring the kids to an event on Friday evening and stay and have some dinner or wine.”

NAP is known for its highly active marketing teams, which produce up to 200 events a year at its centers. Soon after taking over at Ridge Hill, NAP installed a skating rink in a green space between Cheesecake Factory and LA Fitness for the winter. Starting in May, the popular gathering spot will be activated with events including yoga classes and live music. Also soon due there is a fine dining establishment NAP has yet to announce.

To build new interior traffic, the company has plans for a hotel and a new residential development, but it’s still deciding on where both will be located. In the meantime, it has executed a practical improvement guaranteed to increase traffic flow from people already inside Ridge Hill.

“While we charge for parking, we got rid of all the physical hardware in all our parking decks and put in apps so you can pay once and move from deck to deck throughout the property,” Perry said.

Other tenants at Ridge Hill include Apple, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gap, L.L. Bean, Yard House, and Legoland Discovery Center.

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