YONKERS-As work continues on the more than $150-million redevelopment of the Cross County Shopping Center here, leasing interest is high for the nearly 250,000 sf of expansion space planned at the complex. John Genovese, SVP of development for Macerich Co., says that upgrade work to the existing 10 freestanding multi-tenant retail buildings at the complex began about six months ago. Macerich manages and leases the more than one-million-sf facility on behalf of owner Brooks Shopping Center LLC.

“We are starting to renovate the buildings one by one, re-doing the exterior of the buildings, the roofing, the exterior finishes and the lighting, things of that nature, setting the stage for this major re-merchandising project that we have going on where we will have tenants come in and build, in conjunction with our work, new storefronts.” Genovese says. The multi-phased project will include up to 245,375 sf of new retailers and restaurants to be added to the existing space at Cross County.

The plan received final approvals from the Yonkers Planning Board a few weeks ago. Also part of the initiative is a planned 50,000-sf expansion of the existing Macy’s anchor store, which currently totals approximately 250,000 sf. The center’s other major retailers currently include: Sears, Super Stop & Shop, a National Amusements Multiplex movie theater and Old Navy. The property contains 90 national and local retailers and an eight-story 60,200-sf office building. Genovese adds that work on the common areas of the shopping center will likely begin in 2008 and run until 2009.

He says that Macerich is in discussions with a number of retailers that do not have a presence at Cross County. “Those tenants we will be announcing over time as we finalize their leases and schedules,” Genovese notes. He describes the prospects as being a mix of national and regional retailers and restaurant concerns. The Macerich executive says the firm will be looking at the office building at the property and studying whether it should be adapted for another use.

While not revealing the identify of these new tenants, Genovese notes, “We have a significant amount of interest in both retail tenants and restaurants that are not in Yonkers today who want to be in Yonkers and are looking at this location because of obviously its access to the New York State Thruway and the Cross County Parkway.”

Cross County is believed by some in the retail trades to be the oldest open-air shopping center in the US. The complex was built in 1954 by Sol Atlas and was subsequently acquired by Brooks. The group’s majority partners include Benenson Capital Partners LLC of New York City, which has more than 200 property holdings throughout the US, Canada and Europe.

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