Whole Foods, L.L.Bean now open in Yonkers
After years of lawsuits and federal indictments, the largest mixed-use outdoor shopping center in the New York area has officially opened for business in Yonkers. Named Westchester’s Ridge Hill, the 1.3 million-square-foot, $685 million project was developed by Forest City Ratner. Newly opened retailers include a 60,000-square-foot Whole Foods, L.L.Bean, H&M, Old Navy and Sephora, along with restaurants the Yard House and The Cheesecake Factory. Lord & Taylor is slated to open an 80,000-square-foot store in March, the Journal News reported. The outdoor shopping center also features a trolley known as the “Westchester’s Ridge Hill Express.” The project also includes the 500-unit Monarch condominiums, which are set to start sales this fall, and 84,000 square feet of office space for the Westmed Medical Group. Ridge Hill has been controversial because of the tax breaks it received, and because it is the subject of an ongoing federal public-corruption probe involving Yonkers politicians Sandy Annabi and Zehy Jereis. But despite the obstacles, Yonkers mayor Phil Amicone called the development a game-changer for the region. Ridge Hill “will be a destination the likes of which we haven’t seen in Westchester County,” he said.
Halloween snowstorm frightened insurers
Connecticut struggled to recover last month from the crippling late-October Nor’easter now believed to be the worst storm in state history. The snowstorm, which came less than two months after Hurricane Irene, knocked out power in some 830,000 homes and closed businesses and schools, according to the Hartford Courant, while ice, snow and falling branches damaged buildings. The Connecticut Insurance Department estimated last month that the total regional insurance-covered damage from the storm would be $1 to $3 billion. Of that, Connecticut’s share is expected to be $500 to $750 million, though the department said the number of claims is expected to increase. President Obama approved federal emergency assistance to aid the state in its cleanup, and Northeast Utilities announced a $10 million fund to assist residents who suffered losses in the snowstorm.
Novo builds new U.S. HQ
Danish health-care company Novo Nordisk has broken ground on its new U.S. headquarters in Plainsboro, NJ. The project, a joint venture led by Ivy Equities and LCOR in partnership with Intercontinental Real Estate Corp., is a $215 million redevelopment of the 770,000-square-foot former Merrill Lynch building, which was built in 1985. In New Jersey’s largest commercial real estate transaction so far this year, Novo Nordisk signed a long-term lease for the entire 800 Scudders Mill Road building, the company said. The project is expected to be completed in 2013, and will house employees currently located in three existing buildings. New Jersey lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno attended a groundbreaking celebration for the project on a rainy day recently, NJBZ reported. But, Guadagno said, “it’s not raining in New Jersey any day we get to announce jobs, construction and cranes going up.”
Compiled by Russell Steinberg