Ridge Hill Retail Center
Yonkers, New York, accessible from the NYS Thruway
As the Project Architects for the overall design and development of this 84-acre site, Studio 5 Partnership provided initial planning and coordination of all components of this outdoor shopping and 'lifestyle center.'
FC Yonkers Association, LLC, a Division of Forest City Ratner Companies
Provide project architect services for 1.2 million square feet of upscale, mixed-use retail, restaurant and entertainment space as well as 1.5 million square feet of parking.
As the Project Architects for the overall design and development of this 84-acre site, Studio 5 Partnership provided initial planning and coordination of all components of this outdoor shopping and 'lifestyle center.' Through collaboration and teamwork, Studio 5 Partnership’s adroit project management enabled the complex project to move ahead after years of preliminary efforts, while preserving the integrity of the original designs.
By 2010, the city of Yonkers, New York, and residents of Westchester County had long awaited the opening of what was to be New York Metropolitan area’s largest mixed-use outdoor lifestyle shopping center, mixing retail, residential and entertainments uses.
Located just off the New York State Thruway I-87, Westchester’s Ridge Hill promised more than 1.3 million square feet of retail space boasting quality brand names like Lord & Taylor, L.L.Bean, REI, Sephora, The Gap and Apple. Restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, a 12-theatre Showcase Cinema de Lux and a central town green including a children’s play sculpture, would give shoppers opportunities to combine shopping with dining, entertainment, or simple relaxation in the park.
Having worked closely with Studio 5 Partnership on past projects--and recognizing their ability to ‘get it done,’--Design Architect, H3, Hardy Architectural Collaborative along with developer FC/Yonkers turned to Partners Allen Weitzman and Linda Kreczkowski of S5P to shepherd the project from design and construction through to completion.
Allen and Linda knew instinctively what to do. They divided people into groups to take on the challenges of building group locations along the property, and got to work on defining the core issues affecting the site as a whole. “We did a lot of site planning early on,” she explains, “It was constant back and forth with the site planners and design architects.”
That back and forth paid off. Working closely with the Owner and Yonkers officials, as well as other members of the design team, the Studio 5 team worked as much as possible with the existing geographical profiles, honing in on the subtle shortcomings that were holding the project back.
“The architectural design firms that came before us basically made it a flat design,” Allen explains. “But Westchester has rocky hills and profiles. We kept many of the existing landscape features, which gives it more character and lends a modern village feel.”
Other subtle changes saved time and money. Ridge Hill’s Building A, for example, houses a 12-theatre cinema, Dick’s Sporting Goods, LegoLand, and other shops which enter off of a ramped parking deck on the east side and a relatively flat surface parking field to the north. By moving the entrance to the deck a level below on the opposite side, Linda explains, the project avoided having to excavate another 20 feet of rock and soil. “Most people are not aware of the difference, but that simple change saved a lot of money.”
Town center developments such as Ridge Hill are designed to be the social hub of a community–essentially a “new downtown” featuring a main street setting, curbside parking, authentic public spaces for civic functions, and abundant landscaping and amenities. Studio 5’s and its team members use of a variety of materials and retention of natural landscape features add texture and liveliness to Ridge Hill’s streetscape and public areas.
In the Spring of 2011, Ridge Hill Lifestyle Center was awarded a “Business of the Year Award” from Yonkers Mayor Philip A. Amiocone, for its commitment, vision and investment in the community. Studio 5 Partnership’s dedicated and talented team, in collaboration with H3, DTS, TTG, OVSLA, and the rest of the Design Team, were recognized for their creative design of this iconic shopping and entertainment destination. Awards are always appreciated at Studio 5, but the greatest satisfaction, according to Linda and Allen? “Doing a job well done”.
Overall Project Architects: Studio 5 Partnership