Updated, 12:43 p.m., May 28: Retail rents in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $3.74 billion underground World Trade Center transportation hub could command prices of $550 per square foot, top retail brokers told the New York Post.
But a proposal to rent out a WTC PATH terminal space in the main concourse known as the Oculus for private events has received mixed reactions from retail experts and politicians, according to the Post.
The Santiago Calatrava-designed space – which is 350 feet long, 145 feet wide and 160 feet high— is being leased out by global mall firm Westfield Group and could comfortably accommodate major events such as New York Fashion Week.
Westfield is paying the Port Authority $612.5 million for a joint-venture partnership to operate 460,000 square feet of retail at the complex.
Robert Futterman, CEO of retail leasing company RKF, told the Post that he endorsed Westfield’s plans for the Oculus space, saying that public and private events would benefit the community as well as the retail stores, which he expected would be occupied by top-end brands.
Critics said, however, that the massive main concourse may not be able to direct enough retail traffic to the stores on the edges.
One real estate insider not involved with the WTC project told the Post that opening the space up for private events was “a major acknowledgment it’s a boondoggle.”
Public officials told the Post that they have yet to examine the issue. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents the district, told the Post through a representative that “if it’s a resource to the community and open to local organizations and nonprofits we would certainly take a look at it.” [NYP] – Hiten Samtani