World Trade Centre exclusively Westfield

Westfield World Trade CentreAustralian mall operator Westfield Group will own 100 per cent of the retail space at New York’s iconic and rebuilt World Trade Centre.

Westfield, which operates globally, paid US$800 million to acquire a 50 per cent interest in the property from the New York & New Jersey Port Authority. It already owned the other half stake in the retail part of the property.

The company has invested US$1.4 billion in the World Trade Centre retail space in total. It paid only US$600 million for the first half, which it bought two years ago, according to the Jewish Business News.

High profile tenants in the retail space could include Apple, L Brand, Victoria’s Secret and Michael Kors Holdings, though no formal announcements have been made yet.

Westfield Group co-CEO Peter Lowy expects the 365,000 sqm of retail in downtown Manhattan will appeal to tourists and New Yorkers alike, but that could cost him. If the company makes profits above a certain level, they may have to pay the Port Authority an additional one-off payment, over and above the hefty $800 million price tag. Further details have not been disclosed.

The transaction is expected to close within the next six weeks.

Westfield owns major shopping malls in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Jersey. It holds stakes in 91 shopping centres worldwide, including in Australia and New Zealand.

The company initially acquired a 99-year lease in the World Trade Centre retail space in July 2001, months before the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. With the latest acquisition, retail at a historic New York landmark will be operated entirely by a foreign company, albeit one with global and US expertise.


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