As workers buffed the floors and finished building out stores at the Hudson Yards mall on Tuesday morning, Ken Himmel noted the multi-level shopping center is near the finishing line: The 1 million-square-foot complex is just about 85 percent occupied ahead of its grand opening on Friday.
“We just have the last 15 percent to go now,” said Himmel, head of the Related Companies’ mixed-use division.
Roughly 86 percent of the space will be open for shopping on Friday, a Related spokesperson said. About 90 percent of the space is leased, though some stores won’t be ready for opening day.
Himmel said the partners are negotiating leases for the remaining spaces at the multi-story shopping complex, known as Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards. The Shops is the first vertical mall Related’s built in the city since it developed the Time Warner Center, which opened in 2003.
Himmel, who oversaw that project as CEO of Related Urban, said the Hudson Yards mall is designed to draw tenants upward. The mall’s anchor, the Neiman Marcus department store, starts on the fifth floor of the seven-story mall.
And while other malls try to hide features like escalators, Himmel said, Related and Oxford deliberately put their escalators in high-profile locations in order to draw shoppers’ attention upwards.
The mall is opening at a time when many landlords across the city are struggling with vacant storefronts. Himmel said Hudson Yards has the advantage of filling in a retail void on the Far West Side, with shops and restaurants that run the gamut from everyday-affordable to high-end luxury.
In 2015, Related said it would attract more than 24 million people annually and generate $1 billion a year in retail sales.
And while Himmel declined to comment on rents, the CEO said they were not burdensome.
“These are not $1,000 or $1,500 [per square foot] rents like you find on Madison Avenue,” he said. “The retailers and restaurants can do real business here and make money.”
Clarification: This story was updated to make the distinction between the amount of space that will be occupied on opening day, as opposed to how much is leased.