BAYCHESTER, the Bronx (PIX11) -- Community leaders gathered Thursday morning to welcome the public to the new Mall at Bay Plaza in the Bronx -- the first enclosed, suburban-style mall to open in the city in 40 years.
The 780,000-square-foot mall in Baychester has been in the works for two years, costing $300 million.
Despite the large price tag, officials are hoping the project will bring something more valuable: 1,800 jobs and overall economic growth in the Bronx.
“Most importantly, I am happy that Bronxites will fill so many of the jobs created by this project," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. "We are putting our people back to work ... as we rebuild and rebrand the ‘New Bronx.”
Community leaders including Diaz and the Governor's Unemployment Strikeforce will help match candidates to positions at the new mall.
More than 100 stores will accompany the pre-existing JC Penney, including a new Macy's, H&M, Michael Kors, Ulta, Kay Jewelers and Gap.
The mall features three levels with free WiFi for shoppers, a 1,800-car parking garage, restaurants, a gym and a movie theater. Bus stops and other public transportation are located near the mall.
Sam Shalem, the CEO of Prestige Properties, told the Bronx Times that 71 percent of the mall is open, and the rest should be occupied by summer 2015.