The World Trade Center (WTC) reemerges in the city that never sleeps giving business victims of September 11, 2001 another chance to continue their operation at one of the most lucrative shopping sites of the world.
One of those companies is Westfield Group, which had purchased a 99-year lease for the retail area at the WTC in March, 2001, 6 months before the black day of the American history. Today, when the newly built large-scale mall is undergoing just a series of final touches, it is already certain that about 80% of the prospective 150 retail brand tenants have already signed leases or have been sent out corresponding contracts pending their signatures.
Westfield is pretty sure about high demand for available space among the retailers of all kinds and no one is likely to turn down a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the World Trade Center. "We only have 365,000 square feet of space," said Peter Lowy, co-chief executive of Westfield Group. "We could have leased it three or four times over.”
According to Wesfield’ data, the company looks forward to attracting over 200,000 customers who will mostly be NYC visitors, tourists and locals of lower Manhattan, the population of which reaches new highs on a daily basis, The Wall Street Journal says.
In order to have a sufficient amount of profit, Westfield has to focus on selling goods to a wide range of consumers. "We really were trying to get the best brands, the most relevant and most productive, given the consumer we have down there," said Greg Miles, Westfield's chief operating officer in the U.S. "It's really important for us to have a mix to satisfy broad constituents.”
Thus far, the mall seems to have a bright future with numerous globally renowned brands on its board, such as Turnbull & Asser, the gentleman's bespoke shirtmaker and clothier established in 1885, that also performed clothing design for various Hollywood movies including Great Gatsby (1974) and Casino Royale; Apple Inc., Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., Kate Spade New York, The Kooples, MAC and Bobbi Brown are alsoon the list of highly-anticipated retailers.
No one will go hungry down the endless galleries of WTC if Eataly, the Italian gourmet food and winery brand, signs the lease agreement, but we have to listen out for further updates on this topic.
"I think retailers in general have a skeptical approach to retailing underground," said James Fayed, a member of Turnbull & Asser’s panel. "But the walkway traffic is going to be phenomenal. And the Oculus draws light all the way through so it feels like you're not underground."
Mr. Lowy noted the World Trade Centerappeared to be one of the greatest standing out retail sites in the year 2000. Back then, the company from Australia was at the outset of the rental discussions. On the eve of the September 11 attacks, the Mall of WTC was harboring about 80 retailers resulting in over $900 a square foot a year sales numbers.
There are two floors of shopping area along the West Gallery near the newly-built PATH station. Liberty and Church streets pave the way to two other stores located in the Oculus and via the South Gallery. Rents in the Oculus average from $400 to $500 per square foot that is usually charged for socle-floor sites in lower Manhattan. The Oculus presents and extravagant mix of retailers situated on Soho's Prince Street and on Madison Avenue.
According to the words of Stuart Weitzman, founder of the namesake shoe brand, the World Trade Center together with Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty should be placed on the same page of the must-see places of NYC. Some people in business are still superstitious about conducting commercial operations in the place that has reserved a notorious fame in the history of the United States. But as construction is approaching the end, the fears and worries seem to be going away inviting thoughts full of confidence and positive attitude. For instance, "But there was also a great feeling of wanting to be part of something that would help rebuild an area that was part of something that was truly devastating to the entire world and will always be remembered in everyone's mind," said Al Abayan, a spokesman for the retailer.
French apparel retailer Zadig & Voltaire justified his eager to rent a space based primarily on being surrounded by crowded streets among magnificent architecture of certain historical value. "But there was also a great feeling of wanting to be part of something that would help rebuild an area that was part of something that was truly devastating to the entire world and will always be remembered in everyone's mind," said Al Abayan, a representative for the company.
10 JUNE 2014, USA