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Westfield World Trade: The changing face of downtown NYC

After two years in the making, the Westfield World Trade Center (#WestfieldWTC) opened its doors this week.

19/08/2016

Ryan Bennett

Ryan Bennett

Securities Analyst, Real Estate

We were fortunate enough to head along to the launch (and, also fortunately, we weren’t among the estimated 15,000 people waiting for a ‘taste of Eataly’).

Westfield is claiming it as the “New New York place to be” and the hope is that the mall will help defend against the ongoing consumer move to online.  New York sits in top spot in the Schroders Global Cities Index and developments like these only serve to secure its position.

The space occupies over 365,000 square feet and is a $1.4 billion investment for the Australian-listed shopping mall operator. It’s hoped that the new complex will attract more shoppers as the World Trade Center nears completion.

First impressions

Our initial impressions were largely positive. As with many of its flagship developments, Westfield is offering its upscale shopping experience to downtown, an area that has been in a continual state of flux since 9/11.

To its credit, Westfield has provided expert project management through all stages of the rebuild.  The retail space is now fully leased and new tenants such as Apple, Pandora, Under Armor and Kate Spade are starting to move in.

The transformation of downtown

Westfield’s new development is the next step in the transformation of downtown over the almost 15 years since the devastating 9/11 attacks. Goldman Sachs and Condé Nast are among the new tenants for these office and residential areas.

Westfield reports that the submarket currently has about 60,000 neighbourhood residents and 300,000 daily commuters. With this as a base, the Center should drive most of its traffic from tourism; it’s close to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and 1 WTC Observatory as well as ferry stops for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  

It’s expected that 15 million tourists will visit the Center next year and, while office and retail demand is strong, the Center’s retail success will be highly dependent on tourism. The question remains whether these targets can be met. 

Over the long term, Westfield has created a complex that should benefit from a lack of distinct alternatives downtown and potentially rival some of the more renowned shopping centres in Manhattan for years to come.

We’ll be watching the development closely, not least because I live only three blocks away. More updates to come!

 The New New York place to be

Ryan Westfield visit

Ryan Westfield visit

 

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