YONKERS, N.Y. -- A dozen shining shovels broke the first ground of what will soon be Yonkers' very own Hyatt Place Hotel at the Cross County Shopping Center.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, along with Council President Liam McLaughlin and council members Michael Sabatino, Mike Breen and Dennis Shepherd, joined the owners of the shopping center, Hyatt executives and others on Wednesday to celebrate the construction of the 155-room hotel, which will be opening in 2015.
"Our city has gone through major revitalization in the past few years, and obviously this hotel is essential to keeping up that momentum," Spano said.
Spano said the location of the hotel on the I-87 corridor bodes well, as most businesses along it succeed.
He thanked president of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency Ken Jenkins, along with the City Council for their cooperation and leadership in making the plan possible.
"Projects like this don't happen unless there is synergy between the executive and legislative branches," he said.
The groundbreaking, according to James Stifel, executive vice president for the property's owner, Brooks Shopping Centers LLC, was a way to honor the 60th anniversary of Cross County Shopping Center.
City Council president Liam McLaughlin said as a longtime resident of Westchester, the development and progress of the shopping center was good to see.
"I used to walk to this mall with my friends in high school to do my Christmas shopping and everything else," he said. "It's a really welcome addition to the center."
Councilman Dennis Shepherd said he was also happy to see Hyatt had recognized Yonkers as a city that was improving and expanding.
Liz Pollack, senior manager of marketing for Cross County, has been involved with the center since its original renovation in 2008, and was instrumental in organizing the project.
"It's really exciting to see how far this center has come," she said. "Now we have national retailers and stores that people from all over, including other counties and Upper Manhattan want to come and see. Adding the hotel is just going to be another adventure for us, and will add another dynamic layer to our center."