Westfield opens 7 WTC office as retail leasing effort kicks into gear

In its effort to slay some 365,000 square feet of retail at the World Trade Center complex, Westfield Group has moved right into the belly of the beast. The retail landlord has opened a 5,300-square-foot office on the 37th floor of 7 World Trade Center and is bringing top executives from around the world to staff the office and find tenants for the space, the New York Observer reporter.

The firm finalized a $612.5 million deal for a 50 percent stake in the retail space in May and said it expected the shops to open by 2015. At the time, Co-CEO Peter Lowy said he anticipated upscale food shops, domestic and international retailers and a higher-end supermarket to sign for space.

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Though Westfield has yet to secure a tenant, a source told the Observer that it expects them to find a high-end tenant by the end of the year to set a tone for the space. “They’re looking to do deals with Hermes and Gucci, that type of tenant,” the source told the Observer.

David Ruddick, Ron Bondy and Brent Habeck are leading the new office. [NYO] — Adam Fusfeld