The Real Deal New York

The fourth wall: Westfield hires Broadway producer to bring sizzle to the mall

Scott Sanders to head Australian firm’s entertainment business

September 02, 2016 09:24AM

The Westfield World Trade Center and Scott Sanders

The Westfield World Trade Center and Scott Sanders

Westfield Corp is hoping a slick Broadway producer can create buzzworthy events to lure picky customers to its growing collection of malls.

The Australian owner of the World Trade Center retail complex and 34 other malls around the world hired Broadway producer Scott Sanders to head its entertainment offerings.

Sanders won a Tony Award this year for producing “The Color Purple.” According to the Journal, he will continue working on his current Broadway productions “Tootsie” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on the side.

When the company opened the Westfield World Trade Center mall two weeks ago, co-CEO Steven Lowy said “events and entertainment are going to be huge part of what happens here.”

Many retailers have struggled with slowing sales in recent years, and CBRE’s Mark Hunter told the Journal that offering more entertainment could be a way to attract customers. “They are not only competing against other retail property owners,” he said. “They are also competing against e-commerce for the attention and spending dollars of consumers.”

The Real Deal reported last month that there were over 40 vacancies when the World Trade Center mall opened in mid-August, speculating that the empty stores could hurt Westfield’s bottom line and erode confidence in the oft-delayed project.  [WSJ]Konrad Putzier