The Real Deal New York

Apple confirms it’s opening store in WTC PATH hub

Meanwhile, at least four retailers have jumped ship
August 01, 2016 10:15AM

The Oculus at the World Trade Center and the Apple Store at 767 Fifth Avenue

As tenants pull out of leases at Westfield Corp.’s shopping center at the World Trade Center transit hub, it seems Apple is sticking around.

At an opening for Apple’s first Brooklyn store, Jason Barlia, market director of Apple’s New York stores, confirmed the tech giant still plans to open a new shop in the Oculus, CNET reported. Apple has previously reported that it planned to take a mezzanine-level space in the freshly constructed mall, but its recent confirmation comes as several tenants have abandoned leases at the hub.

Westfield TRData LogoTINY, which controls the retail space through a 99-year lease, terminated at least four leases with retailers who refused to take possession of their space. Other companies, including possibly H&M, which has about 25,000 square feet, likely won’t be ready for the mid-August grand opening. This could spell trouble for Westfield in terms of foot-traffic and the amount of base rent it can expect to take in. Mall operators typically give tenants a break on rent if the space isn’t 70 to 85 percent leased.

The WTC hub has been roughly a decade in the making and has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and political disputes. Construction continues on the mall. [CNET] —Kathryn Brenzel