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YONKERS-A groundbreaking is expected this fall on the long sought after and controversial Ridge Hill project here by Forest City Ratner Cos. on property adjoining the New York State Thruway.

Some site work has already begun at the 81.4-acre Ridge Hill site. Forest City completed demolition of some of the existing structures at the project site in the winter of 2006/2007 and site mobilization took place throughout this past spring. Site preparation work was initiated in mid-June, according to a company spokesman.

Bruce Bender, EVP of Forest City Ratner tells GlobeSt.com, “Currently, we are preparing the site and expect to break ground later this year. Ridge Hill will be a tremendous economic stimulus for Yonkers and the surrounding area, creating over 9,500 jobs and generating over $60 million annually in tax revenue. This is an exciting time for everyone involved with the project as we are one step closer to making Ridge Hill a reality for Yonkers.”

A company spokesman pins down the start of construction on the Ridge Hill venture to this fall. The project is expected to open sometime in 2009 and will feature 1.3 million sf of retail development, including shopping, restaurants and entertainment; approximately 160,000 sf of existing office and research facilities, up to 1,000 residential units and a 175-room hotel and conference center. A total of 200 of the housing units will be earmarked for over-55 active adults and 135 units are tagged as “affordable.” As part of the project, significant improvements to the transportation infrastructure surrounding the site are anticipated. Forest City states it will be making $35 million worth of traffic improvements to city roads in what it terms “the largest investment in Yonkers infrastructure by a private developer in the city’s history.”

Parking for more than 7,100 vehicles will be featured in covered and uncovered parking facilities. Forest City officials estimated Ridge Hill will create 5,500 direct construction jobs during the life of the project and 4,000 direct permanent full-time jobs after construction is completed.

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