When people think of groundbreaking real estate projects that could change the way we live as New Yorkers, they don’t usually think of Yonkers. Until now.Missing the back story
Just 22 minutes up the New York State Thruway from the upper East and upper West Sides, an 84-acre project that defines what developers, architects and city planners call “new urbanism” is on its way to completion. Called Ridge Hill, this 1.2 million square-foot retail and residential complex from Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards and the Nets Arena in Brooklyn, is seeing full-throttle construction, leasing and home-buying.
The project has the New York area’s first outdoor mall, with a multiplex cinema, its own Main St. and a water, light and fire show straight out of Las Vegas. There’s a Whole Foods, Lord & Taylor, L.L. Bean, medical building, and four-phase residential component, where one-bedrooms start at $325,000. The development sits on a ridge (hence the name) overlooking the countryside, and it’s less than eight minutes from the nearest train station. The goal is to have a living experience where residents don’t need cars and can walk to restaurants, stores and medical facilities.
And how did it come about?
More than a decade ago, the politicians in Yonkers asked to buy the land from New York State. After the state agreed to let the city pursue a deal, a request for proposals was issued to developers. According to Mayor Phillip A. Amicone, the Forest City vision was much more compelling and innovative than others.Um, there's just a wee bit missing here, like an oddly changed vote on the City Council, an indictment (which spared Forest City Ratner, despite its entanglement), and a pending trial.
“They really delivered something that no one has,” says Amicone, who estimates Yonkers will earn $20 million to $25 million in taxes when Ridge Hill is fully operational.