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Frank Lowy Set To Dominate Retail In Lower Manhattan Now As New World Trade Center Emerges From the Ashes

 

 Frank Lowy / Getty

 Frank Lowy / Getty

Australian shopping-mall developer Westfield Group, run by Frank Lowy, which is developing all the retail space at the New World Trade Center, is reported by the New York Post to have already lined up retailers for 90 percent of the first phase of development, 365, 000 square feet at the 16-acre site.

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World Trade Center the “Oculus”

Westfield is said to have already signed a lease with Victoria’s Secret, and to be close to deals with dozens of retailers, including J. Lindberg, Tory Burch, Theory, Michael Kors, Swatch and Abercrombie & Fitch, again according to the Post, as well as many of the usual upscale international brands. Asking rents are in the $500-to-$600 a square foot range and Apple is also rumoured to be considering opening an Apple store there as well.

Meanwhile, competitor Brookfield Properties across the street has relaunched the former World Financial Center as Brookfield Place, and has succeeded in renting up its much smaller 200, 000 square foot retail area with upscale boutiques including Hermes, Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo. When renovations are finished their new retail area will re-open in 2014 after a number of delays.

Ten years after 9/11 the new World Trade Centre is gradually emerging, phoenix like, from the ashes of the twin towers that fell on that day. Massive new office towers are nearing completion and so is a key part of the site that had to be carefully rebuilt first, the huge, mostly underground, 800, 000 square feet transportation hub that will directly link the new World Trade Centre, and the adjacent Brookfield Place as well, to the outside world.

The new transit hub will serve 250, 000 commuters every day via eleven different subway lines, and the cross-river PATH rail system as well. Developed by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (Port Authority) the transit hub has been designed by acclaimed international architect Santiago Calatrava and will include 365, 00 square feet of prime retail space initially in its concourse areas.

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 World Trade Center transportation hub surface level

Calatrava’s dramatic surface wing of the hub will be situated right beside the two memorial pools that occupy the former footprints of the twin towers themselves. Westfield entered into the joint venture with the Port Authority last year to develop, lease and operate all the major retail space at the WTC site, including in the transit hub itself. Under the terms of the joint venture Westfield committed to an investment of US$612.5 million for its 50 percent share of the joint venture, with additional potential earn-outs for the Port Authority, the government entity which controls the site, down the road.

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World Trade Center transportation hub shopping areas – the trains are underneath
The Hub itself features an “Oculus” design, which will give the facility a distinctive, wing-like appearance. When completed, the Oculus will serve as the main shopping concourse, incorporating 365, 000 square feet of multi-level retail, restaurant and entertainment space. The shopping area will be both within the Oculus itself and in two of the adjacent office towers being developed by Larry Silverstein. Inevitably the new hub will become a major destination location as well for the entire Lower Manhattan district of New York. An additional 90, 000 square feet of retail space will be added when the fourth commercial tower is developed in the future.

The whole project including the first phase of the retail area will be finished only in 2015, however the first PATH trains should be running even by the end of 2013.

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