Sunday, February 12, 2012

Forest City executive in charge of Ridge Hill, and his successor, both leave company within one year

It's not just the Forest City Ratner executives working on Atlantic Yards who've departed.

Two top executives, each in turn overseeing the Ridge Hill project (among others), left the company in the past year to go to mall operator General Growth Partners, which declared bankruptcy in 2009 but emerged more than a year later.

Maybe the moves were simply sign of good news, finding a better offer after getting work accomplished. Or maybe there was a desire to leave a project that was having a longer gestation than anticipated.

Pesin departs

Reuters reported 1/6/11:
Richard Pesin, executive vice president and director of retail development for Forest City Ratner Cos, part of Forest City Enterprises Inc (FCEa.N) will become its new executive vice president of anchors, development and construction, the memo said.
According to Pesin's biography, he spent 15 years at Forest City, serving as executive VP and director of Retail Development, "directly responsible for more than 4.5 million square feet with a cost of more than $1.5 billion of new development."

A10/31/09 Chain Store Age article headlined Up on the Ridge described how Forest City got a "a two-year extension and modification of the $557 million construction financing" for Ridge Hill and the project, originally predicted to open in 2008, would, according to Pesin, open in 2011.

“Forest City is a long-term player, and banks understand and appreciate that,” Pesin told the publication. “They also understand that Ridge Hill is a project that is long term, a great asset in a great location.”

A 7/30/09 article in the business publication Westfair Online described the Ridge Hill site as "a dusty hotbed of activity":
Pesin, executive vice president and director of development for Brooklyn-based FCRC, said Ridge Hill will borrow from the classic town center, with a landscaped town square and a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. The public space that will be created, Pesin said, will allow for community events such as Christmas tree lightings, farmers markets and so forth.
Westchester County, he declared, was "under-retailed for billions of square feet"--some of the same logic Forest City pursued in Brooklyn.

Pesin's successor Silberfein departs

Forest City executive Andrew Silberfein, originally Executive VP of finance, added retail to his portfolio after Pesin left, and continued to shepherd Ridge Hill.

As Reuters reported 11/17/11, Silberfein was named President and CEO of Rouse Properties, a division of General Growth.

A month earlier, as described in a 10/19/11 press release from Ridge Hill presaging the "Brand” Opening beginning the next day, Silberfein was to join CEO Bruce Ratner and Yonkers’ Mayor Philip. Amicone, among others, in greeting the expected crowds:
“This project will serve to invigorate the greater Westchester area bringing local jobs and tax revenue at a time when they are greatly needed,” said Andy Silberfein, executive vice president and director of retail and finance for FCRC. “We are proud to have partnered with Yonkers Workforce Development to connect people with retailers and jobs and to promote hiring from the local workforce.”

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