Ridge Hill Shopping Center Acquired for $220 Million; Complex to be Repositioned to Outdoor Lifestyle Center
John Jordan | May 6, 2022
YONKERS—The Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers, which first opened more than a decade ago, has been sold to a partnership of Nuveen Real Estate, Taconic Partners and North American Properties for $220 million. The new ownership intends to rebrand the 74-acre property into an outdoor lifestyle center as well as “unlock the full development potential of the site.”
The property was sold by QIC Real Estate, which acquired interest in the 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use complex off the New York State Thruway in 2016 and 2017 from Forests City Realty Trust. The 2017 transaction included the remaining Forest City Realty ownership of Ridge Hill, as part of 10-property portfolio deal on behalf of a QIC client.
The sale of the Ridge Hill Shopping Center does not include the Monarch at Ridge Hill condominium development. Forest City developed Ridge Hill shopping center for approximately $600 million.
The new ownership states that its renovation/repositioning plans for the Ridge Hill complex are still in development, but the partners will “look to incorporate state-of-the-art initiatives that enhance Ridge Hill’s public spaces, street design and parking amenities. They will also draw on their combined network of retailers to attract top-tier local and NYC inspired food and beverage concepts, and national luxury apparel and boutique fitness providers, building on Ridge Hill’s existing experiential features to create the leading lifestyle center in the tri-state region.”
JLL marketed the property on behalf of the seller—QIC US Management, Inc. Additionally, working on behalf of the new ownership, JLL secured a $181.3-million non-recourse acquisition loan from Heitman Capital Management LLC.
“We see this as an attractively priced asset in an evolving sector that fits within our well-diversified New York property focused real estate fund,” said Nadir Settles, Managing Director at Nuveen and Head of the New York Property Fund. “The acquisition of Ridge Hill reflects a generational opportunity to re-position an already dominant lifestyle center that sits in the heart of one of the country’s most affluent and densely populated regions.”
“This unique retail asset will be a great addition to our fund and we look forward to being a part of its successful redevelopment,” said Chris Balestra, President and Chief Investment Officer at Taconic Partners.
Ridge Hill is currently 71.7% occupied and home to a mix of retail and office tenants, including Whole Foods, Lowe’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, T.J.Maxx, H&M, LA Fitness, LL Bean, Showcase Cinemas, Legoland Discovery Center, Guitar Center, the Container Store and Westmed Medical Group. The property welcomes 7.1 million annual visitors and is in the top 1% of the most trafficked centers in the U.S. and New York.
A QIC spokesman stated, “We can confirm QIC’s successful divestment of Ridge Hill, which is in line with our investor-endorsed strategy. QIC has interests in a number of real estate and infrastructure assets across the U.S. on behalf of investors. As an active investment manager, the number of assets we manage on behalf of our institutional clients evolves in alignment with our client-endorsed investment strategies. The U.S. remains a key investment location for QIC.”
North American Properties stated that it will begin operations and repositioning of the property this month. NAP is a boutique, full-service real estate owner/developer notable for projects such as Avalon in Alpharetta, GA; Birkdale Village in Charlotte, NC; Colony Square in Atlanta, GA and, Newport on the Levee in Newport, KY. The partnership between Nuveen and NAP continues to grow, with Ridge Hill representing their third project together. The partners recently acquired the open-air lifestyle center The Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners, GA.
“Over the last decade, Ridge Hill has become a core component of the Yonkers community and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to enhance it by applying our high-touch, hospitality-driven approach toward management,” said Tim Perry, Managing Partner at NAP. He later added, “We’ve already started working to enhance the public realm, bring technology forward in the guest and parking experience, as well as longer term unlocking the full development potential of the site. Helping to design and define this will require community engagement to determine what’s missing, from a retail, as well as experiential, perspective.”
Nuveen Real Estate and Taconic Partners have collaborated since 2015, collectively investing more than $2 billion across more than 2 million square feet in New York. The partners completed a $260-million fundraising round for their jointly sponsored value-add New York City Property Fund II in 2021. The acquisition of Ridge Hill is the partnership’s first investment into value-add retail and an opportunity to diversify beyond its existing life science, office and industrial holdings, the partnership stated.
The JLL Retail Capital Markets team that represented the seller was led by Senior Managing Director Dave Monahan, Senior Director Cameron Pittman, Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of U.S. Retail Capital Markets Chris Angelone and Senior Managing Directors Jose Cruz and Andrew Scandalios.
“Ridge Hill is one of the more compelling investment opportunities that I have transacted on in my career,” Monahan said. “Driven by the exceptional trade area characteristics, highly desirable existing tenancy and multiple value creation opportunities, this asset received a tremendous amount of interest from a broad range of investors. The collective experience and operational expertise of the buyer group of Nuveen, Taconic and North American Properties creates an ownership that is uniquely qualified to enable Ridge Hill to achieve its highest potential.”
The JLL Capital Markets Debt Advisory team that represented the borrower included Senior Managing Directors Kellogg Gaines, Aaron Niedermayer and Evan Pariser, Managing Director Claudia Steeb and Analyst Joy Dracos.