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WHITE PLAINS-Fortunoff, the Long Island-based jewelry and home furnishings retailer, held a groundbreaking event on Wednesday (June 19) for its new $93 million, 250,000-sf retail center located at 100 Bloomingdale Rd.

Fortunoff, the Source at White Plains is being built at the site of the former Saks Fifth Avenue store, which closed late last year. Demolition work at the site began in March of this year. The 128,000-sf Saks store has since been completely leveled to make way for a 180,000-sf Fortunoff store and 70,000 sf of retail space and a parking garage.

Among the dignitaries on the hand for the event were Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano and White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino. Also in attendance were officials from Fortunoff’s development partner on the project, Reckedge of White Plains.

Mayor Delfino said, “Getting us to groundbreaking here in White Plains took four years of substantive discussions with Fortunoff. I am very proud to say that the effort has paid off.”

Louis Fortunoff, a principal with the retailer said, “We believe that the Westchester market offers Fortunoff an unprecedented opportunity to further expand our customer base, strengthen the company’s position in the marketplace and ensure that we remain the leader in fine jewelry and home furnishings.”

Fortunoff singled out White Plains Mayor Delfino as well as Westchester County government for playing key roles in convincing the firm to locate a store in Westchester County. The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency recently induced the project for bond financing which makes the mall eligible for real estate, sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The Fortunoff store and retail space is scheduled to be completed by September 2003. The project is expected to create 300 construction jobs and approximately 600 permanent jobs when completed. Once in operation, the facility is projected to generate more than $9 million in local taxes each year.

The new Westchester store is expected to attract consumers from Westchester as well as from Manhattan and affluent Fairfield County, CT. The retailer noted that last year, Westchester residents spent more than $7 million in Fortunoff stores in the metro New York area, even though it had no presence in the county. Fortunoff has five existing stores in the New York metro area.

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