Cross County Shopping Center Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Cross County was originally developed by Sol Atlas. The more than 70-acre property began operations with approximately 30 stores and the Cross County Hospital, which closed in the 1980s and was later redeveloped as a hotel.

Cross County Shopping Center Celebrates 70th Anniversary
Significant investments over the years have transformed Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers into a vibrant retail complex that currently boasts a 97% overall leased rate.

YONKERS—Happy 70th birthday Cross County Shopping Center!

A true retail icon in Westchester County and New York State—the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers——officially opened for business on April 28, 1954, as one of the largest open-air shopping centers in the nation and the first large-scale shopping center in Westchester County.

Since that time, many Westchester residents have either worked at the property or shopped at the likes of storied retailers now long gone—John Wanamaker, Gimbels, Stern’s, Sears and F. W. Woolworth. It has survived 10 recessions (1958, 1961, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1982, 1990, 2001, 2007 (Great Recession) and 2020 (Covid). Most recently, it has adapted and arguably thrived, despite a change in consumer spending habits that has seen online e-commerce capturing increased market share and batter many suburban shopping centers across the nation.

Cross County was originally developed by Sol Atlas. The more than 70-acre property began operations with approximately 30 stores and the Cross County Hospital, which closed in the 1980s and was later redeveloped as a hotel. Today, Cross County features more than 80 retailers and restaurants, including: Macy’s, Target, Zara, Michael Kors, H&M, Shake Shack, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Starbucks, Pandora, Ulta Beauty, a Hyatt Place Hotel, as well as the Yonkers campus of SUNY Westchester and totals approximately 1.2 million square feet.

Cross County Center is currently jointly owned by Marx Realty and Benenson Capital. Craig Deitelzweig, president and CEO of Marx Realty, in an interview with Real Estate In-Depth, said Cross County currently enjoys a 97% overall leased rate and a 99% leased rate for its smaller retail stores. The center’s retail mix, children’s play areas, free parking and seasonal events draw more than 14 million visitors and guests each year.

“While other shopping centers have come and gone, Cross County Center stands as an enduring beacon of excellence and has remained an iconic, thriving, and cherished neighborhood institution since it first opened in this community 70 years ago,” said Deitelzweig. “We take immense pride in this community and our role in helping to shape and foster a robust and thriving retail environment that enriches the entire region.”

Deitelzweig said that since he was appointed president and CEO of Marx Realty in 2017, a host of people have shared with him their personal history of Cross County. “The beauty of Cross County center is I can’t tell you how many people I have met who say, ‘It was the first place I bought a suit,’ or “It was the place I had my first kiss ever,” he said.

The grand opening of Cross County Shopping Center was in 1954. The original property included about 30 stores and the multi-story Cross County Hospital.

He noted that in recent years the property has undergone significant upgrades, including the redevelopment of the former Sears store into a new Target (opened October 2023) and space for SUNY Westchester (opened November 2022). In addition, a new park was added adjacent to the Target/SUNY Westchester space that connects the Target building to the rest of the center.

“We’ve also really changed up the green space throughout the center,” he noted. Since the center is almost fully leased, “the plan is to add more retail because we just can’t meet the demand,” he related.

Deitelzweig said that while no plans have been presented to the city as yet, he estimates the planned expansion would involve approximately 60,000 square feet of new (multi-tenant) retail space, as well as green space.

Cross County, unlike many retail centers across the nation, enjoys stiff competition for spaces that become available or come up for renewal. “We really have a hard decision to make whether we want to renew that tenant or bring in new tenants. Oftentimes, we will have seven options to choose from and this is great for the center because we always want to make it cutting-edge and have the best retailers out there,” Deitelzweig said.

Bricks and Mortar Retail is Alive and Well

While enclosed retail malls have been struggling, outdoor centers are doing quite well, he said. He attributes Cross County’s longevity and continued success in part to its strategic location, adjacent to the New York State Thruway, Cross County Parkway and Central Avenue retail corridor.

One-time anchor of Cross County was Gimbels department store.

“I think Cross County is doing extremely well because it is so well-located, people love being at Cross County. It has been part of the community for 70 years so we have a bit of a head start here,” he said. “We have always been at the forefront of making sure that the spaces are very engaging as part of the community. I think that has been a part of our success, making sure that we are doing events that bring people to the center and making sure that the retail mix is always evolving the best it can be.”

He boasts that many national retail stores at Cross County are either the top, second or third in gross sales of all their stores across the country.

In fact, Cross County boasts the first Zara, Shake Shack and now Savage X Fenty by Rihanna in Westchester County. The Savage X Fenty lingerie brand is opening in June at Cross County. In addition, Cross County’s only pizza restaurant‑Honey Pizza will be making its debut in June.

Cross County Center kicked off its milestone celebration with an expanded Summer Fest 2024. The series began on Saturday, May 18th at noon, inviting visitors to embark on a nostalgic journey back to 1954. The day celebrated Cross County Center through the decades, featuring strolling entertainers, music and selfie stations representing different eras, and a Pop-Up Roller Skating Rink. Additional events marking the 70th Anniversary will take place throughout the year as part of the celebration.

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