North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate have gotten the go-ahead from officials in Yonkers, N.Y., to begin phase one of its redevelopment of Ridge Hill, once named as one of Chain Store Age’s Top 10 Retail Center Experiences.
The 74-acre mixed-use center that sits atop the highest hill in Westchester County’s largest city will have its streetscape and social gathering spaces reconfigured and reimagined.
Its 15,000-sq.-ft. Town Square, earlier the site of a playground, will be remade as an open greenspace that will host many of the hundred-plus annual events planned for the center—a practice NAP helped institutionalize in its development of Avalon, the ground-breaking, upscale mixed-use center in Alpharetta, Ga.
The most drastic change to the area’s redesign will be the closing of traffic on Second Street, a move that will add 10,000 square feet of space to the plaza to allow for larger events.
"Our event attendance has increased so much since we introduced more consistent event programming that it is putting pressure on our existing activation spaces,” said Ridge Hill general manager Meghann Hongach.
In addition, 17,000 square feet on the closed, north end of the center’s main retail will be transformed into a family-friendly activity zone called Park Plaza. Its current fountains will be replaced by greenery, soft seating, and café tables in the shadows of TJ Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Legoland Discovery Center.
NAP and Nuveen acquired Ridge Hill last year from its original developer, the Australian company QIC, for $220 million. Prior to the acquisition, the center lost its Lord & Taylor and REI anchors, dropping its occupancy rate to 72%. But buoyed by the downtown-like property’s annual tally of 7 million visitors, the new owners did the deal with confidence that new features would give it new life.
Ridge Hill will be the sixth such redevelopment of its kind for NAP since 2017. Others included Birkdale Village in Huntersville, N.C., and The Forum in Peachtree Corners, Ga.-- both renovated in collaboration with Nuveen.
“Building on the successes of Birkdale Village and The Forum, the redevelopment of Ridge Hill represents our further dedication to enhancing local living with new and exciting amenities,” said Julien Chaperon, Nuveen’s senior director of retail and mixed-use development