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HACKENSACK, NJ-The planning board here has approved a proposal by the Mills Corp. to start a major expansion and renovation of its Shops at Riverside, a 600,000-sf, two-level enclosed mall. The Arlington, VA-based Mills will add nearly 250,000 sf to the complex, adding nearly three dozen retailers to the existing tenant roster of more than 70. The cost of the project has not been released.

The project will be done in two phases, with the first to start later this summer, according to Jeremy Meredith, Mills’ development director. Phase I will be ready by late 2006, Meredith says, and the second phase will be done in the spring of 2007.

“The planning board’s approval of our plan is good news,” Meredith says. “The redevelopment will elevate the Shops at Riverside’s position by offering more high-end retail and dining options.”

The expansion will include moving the existing Bloomingdale’s Home store to a new 75,000-sf site next to the mall’s Bloomingdale’s department store. The building being vacated by Bloomingdale’s Home is slated to be subdivided into spaces for 30 shops and restaurants, according to Meredith. Besides Bloomie’s, the center is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Barnes & Noble, Tiffany & Co. and Pottery Barn, which has its largest store in the US here.

“Bergen County is important to Bloomingdale’s,” says Michael Gould, the Federated division’s chairman and CEO. “We believe our new Home store location will allow us to better provide for our customers.”

The project also includes an expansion wing of close to 100,000 sf that will connect the new Bloomingdale’s Home store to a new 856-space parking deck. Tenants already lined up for the expansion include Hugo Boss, Pottery Barn Kids, Polo Collection, White House/Black Market, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Petite Bateau, Kenneth Cole, PF Chang’s and Rosa Mexicana. Mills recently added several tenants to the mall’s existing space, including Cole Haan, the Fountain Spa, Sigrid Olsen and Godiva Chocolatier.

The renovation of the existing space, meanwhile, will include exterior improvements, new directional signage, new landscaping, site lighting and parking lot paving. Built in 1977, the Shops at Riverside was last renovated a decade ago.

Mills, of course, is currently involved in a slightly larger and more controversial project in the region. With partner Mack-Cali Realty, the company is set to develop the $1.2-billion Meadowlands Xanadu a little to the south in East Rutherford, NJ.

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