Shoppers both young and old will have a new spot to relax when visiting The Westchester mall in White Plains.
The mall unveiled a children’s play area and a technology lounge on its fourth floor on Dec. 1 as the first phase of the 890,000-square-foot shopping center’s “Savor Westchester” dining area. The new sections are part of the multimillion-dollar renovation the 12-acre, four-level mall has undergone in the last year.
“This is all about the amenities, the experience and making the mall a destination,” said Robert T. Guerra, regional vice president for the mall’s owner and operator, Simon Property Group Inc.
A 2,300-square-foot children’s play area, aptly titled “Play,” includes educational elements that incorporate principles of STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. Formerly the site of FAO Schwarz, the play area was sponsored by Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla and also includes a toddler play section, tablets that allow children to create their own artwork, an oversize keyboard and a lounge for nursing mothers.
“We have lots of stroller moms in White Plains, and people were really calling for something like this,” Guerra said.
Flat screen televisions positioned to create a single 16-by-9-foot screen make the centerpiece of the mall’s new technology lounge, “Connect.”
“It’s great for football games or streaming in fashion shows from Paris- it can be for whatever, so it’s going to be great,” Guerra said.
The 3,000-square-foot area also hosts complimentary iPads, phone-charging stations, a variety of seating choices and a new concierge desk.
The tech lounge and play area adjoin what will be Savor Westchester’s dining area and outdoor patio. Scheduled to open in April in the mall’s former food court, Savor Westchester will feature seven eateries, including “unique and casual tenants from New York City,” Guerra said.
“It’s going to be a place that you go not because you have to but you go because you want to,” White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said of the renovated area.
Roach said he was pleased to see Simon’s major investment in the city. “It’s a vote of confidence in what we’ve been doing in our downtown to revitalize it. We’re seeing really a surge of reinvestment- not just new developments, but reinvestment in existing ones.”
Guerra said the newly opened Connect and Play areas will serve as prototypes for other Simon malls worldwide. The Indianapolis-based company owns or has an interest in 228 retail properties, including The Shops at Nanuet in Rockland County and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Orange County.