The (Not So) Little Mall That Could

Five years ago, it appeared as though the aging Cross County Shopping Center, the first open-air shopping mall in the nation, was destined for shopper irrelevance, what with The Westchester, Jefferson Valley, and Galleria malls to the North, Manhattan to the south, and Central Avenue in its backyard.

In the throes of a quarter-billion-dollar renovation, Cross County is today poised for revival, fighting back to become lower Westchester’s premier retail shopping destination. And with 1.2 million square feet of retail space (the most in Westchester; in contrast, the Galleria at White Plains has 867,000 square feet and The Westchester has 827,000); an expanded Macy’s anchor store; a modern, new look; and a slew of new shopping, dining, and entertainment options; its comeback is well underway.

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The design of the Center will remain open-air, with two main promenades connecting 12 retail buildings. “We believe that being an outdoor, lifestyle shopping center sets us apart from the other retail shopping venues in the county,” says Marketing Manager Liz Pollack.

Renovations began in 2006 when owner Brooks Shopping Centers, LLC, retained Macerich Management Company to manage, lease, and redevelop the Center. Since then, Cross County has lured a host of retailers, including bebe, AX Armani Exchange, Victoria’s Secret, and Guess. Macy’s, one of four anchor stores (the others are Sears, Super Stop & Shop, and Multiplex Cinemas) has undergone a 75,000-square-foot expansion.

Larry Mentzer, district vice president of Macy’s Metro NYC, says Macy’s expects the improvements “to put it in the top five percent of our stores in terms of volume.” Based on recent shopper intercept research, the average duration of a visit to Cross County Shopping Center is 104 minutes—substantially longer than the industry norm of about 75 minutes (in comparison, the average duration of a shopper’s visit to The Westchester is 108 minutes, and to The Galleria is 96 minutes). Though the Center won’t disclose specific sales, Pollack reports that, as a whole, Cross County is performing much better than it had at this time last year. 

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