YONKERS – In several short weeks, Ridge Hill will welcome three new restaurants: the perennial Subway chain and local favorites Elevation Burger and Lefteris Gyro.
Kathy Welch – developer for Forest City Ratner, the company – confirmed Thursday that those three tenants are almost done with their build-outs and should be ready to open by mid-July.
Daniel Magnus – the CEO of Elevation Burger, an organic fast food chain – said he received a similar financial deal through the U.S. Small Business Administration that he received when he opened his first location at the Rye Ridge Shopping Plaza in Rye Brook earlier this year.
“We’re getting close,” he said. “We’re on track to open two franchises a year.”
He added that the new tenants coming to Ridge Hill – especially the massive Legoland – will complement his business very well.
“There are a lot of tenants in the pipeline,” Welch said. “Stay tuned.”
She also said the recent deal made with UK-based Merlin Entertainments to bring the first Legoland to New York should be complete by the end of July, and its build-out – a visually creative storefront, including Lego sculptures – should be complete by next spring.
“It’s unique to the market,” Welch said of Legoland. “It’ll bring families and add to the Ridge Hill experience.”
The full Legoland press release can be found below:
New York, London (May 29, 2012) Global leisure giant Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), the world’s second biggest visitor attraction operator, announced today plans to build the company’s fifth US LEGOLAND Discovery Center (LDC) in Westchester County, New York. The $12m attraction, which will open in late Spring 2013 at Westchester’s Ridge Hill, will be the first-ever LEGOLAND Discovery Center in New York.
Merlin’s newest attraction concept, the unique LEGOLAND Discovery Center will offer a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience specifically designed for families with children 3-10 years old. Based on the ever popular LEGO brick, LEGOLAND Discovery Centers provide a range of play areas including a brick pool, master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder; exciting LEGO rides; special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a 4D cinema, and of course the popular MINILAND exhibit – found in every LEGOLAND Park and attraction. MINILAND is designed to reflect the iconic buildings of each individual attraction’s location – in Ridge Hill this will include buildings from the Manhattan Skyline like the new Freedom Tower and Empire State Building, as well as more local landmarks nominated by the local community.
This new project at Ridge Hill, which officially opened in October 2011, also underlines Merlin’s aggressive global growth plan, spearheaded by significant development in key regions like North America. Indeed in 2012 alone the company will open 7 new attractions, including 4 in the USA; as well as continuing to invest in new experiences and improved customer service across its existing portfolio of more than 90 attractions.
Merlin currently has fourteen attractions in North America including LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Georgia and Kansas City Missouri; the stunning LEGOLAND Florida theme park which opened in October last year; the LEGOLAND California theme park with its exciting Water Park and SEA LIFE aquarium (a hotel will also open in 2013); Madame Tussauds’ attractions in New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas/Fort Worth and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator. Two more Merlin attractions are also scheduled to open in the USA in 2012 – a SEA LIFE aquarium in Kansas City, Missouri and a Water Park in LEGOLAND Florida.
Commenting Glenn Earlam, Managing Director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group, which includes the LDCs, said: “The LEGOLAND Discovery Center concept is already successful in both Europe and elsewhere in the USA, and I know people will love it here in Westchester County. We are also absolutely delighted to be opening in this exciting new development. I believe that Ridge Hill is destined to become a very popular leisure ‘destination’ not just for local Westchester County family visitors, but also for those from the greater metropolitan area – a catchment area with a high proportion of families with young children – so exactly the right location for us, and for a LEGOLAND Discovery Center. More than that, our experience has shown that bringing together an exciting mix of retail, dining and quality leisure attractions like the LDC creates a whole new element to a family shopping day, delivering significant incremental business to both the mall – and to the area as a whole. Such projects play an important part in Merlin’s future growth strategy for our ‘midway’ or indoor City Center attractions.”
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the developer – Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) – for its support. We are already working with FCRC in Manhattan where we have a major Madame Tussauds wax attraction, and I hope that this will reinforce what is already a successful working relationship. Indeed the enthusiasm with which this project has been greeted by FCRC, and particularly the Ridge Hill development team, and the quality of the overall development were key factors in our decision to come here. Our plan now is to start work on the site later this summer in order to open as early as possible in 2013, which we expect to be late Spring/early Summer.”
“Forest City Ratner Companies is extremely pleased to welcome LEGOLAND Discovery Center to Westchester’s Ridge Hill,” said Kathy Welch, Senior Vice President for Retail Development at FCRC. “The addition of this fantastic attraction is going to complement the outstanding mix of tenants already in full-swing and those contemplated to be opened by the end of this year.”
“Ridge Hill retailers have been attracting thousands of new shoppers daily and we believe that the LEGOLAND Discovery Center is going to add immeasurably to the excitement already being generated and further enhance Ridge Hill’s position as an outstanding family destination,” concluded Ms. Welch.
Plans and designs are already being drawn up for the 33,000 square-foot site and construction is expected to begin in July. LEGO models for the Ridge Hill attraction will be made in Merlin’s specialist studios around the world and shipped in during construction ready for the opening in 2013.