Almost a million square feet of new retail space will flood Lower Manhattan in the next few years, heralding a turnaround for shopping in the area, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The largest of the four major projects spurring the retail explosion is a 350,000-square-foot shopping mall for the World Trade Center.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $1.4 billion Fulton Center on Broadway will have 70,000 square feet of new high-end retail space, which will be handled by a private operator, a first for the agency. The World Financial Center on the Hudson is undergoing a $250 million upgrade that includes a revamp of its 177,000 square feet of retail space. And the owners of the South Street Seaport are renovating the long-struggling property to attract tenants and shoppers alike.
Despite the population of well-heeled finance professionals and millions of tourists, shopping options in Lower Manhattan have been relatively scanty for the last decade. Developers and brokers say that there has been pent-up retail demand since the Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center and its underground mall.
The upcoming spaces at the World Trade Center, the Fulton Center, the World Financial Center and the South Street Seaport will feature more glass surfaces, well-lit public spaces, more food vendors and a wider selection of stores, The Wall Street Journal reports. Traditionally, Lower Manhattan’s difficult-to-navigate streets and dim storefronts have made the area a hard sell for retailers.
But will there be enough shoppers?
Whereas the old World Trade Center mall catered to finance professionals, the new shopping centers hope to draw tourists, residents and workers from different industries—for example, media titan Condé Nast, which moves in the neighborhood in 2014.
“The reality for me is for so long Downtown, the office tenants consisted of investment banks and the Port Authority—really non-sexy types of tenants,” Newmark Grubb Knight Frank broker Jeffrey Roseman told The Wall Street Journal. “Condé Nast will absolutely change that.”
As the World Trade Center complex nears completion, luxury residences have sprung up near the development site, starting in 2008 with the opening of 101 Warren Street, The Real Deal reported. Other projects on that stretch four blocks from the World Trade Center include 53, 55 and most recently 37 Warren Street, which recently hit the market. The residential population of Lower Manhattan has nearly tripled since Sept. 11, according to The Wall Street Journal, which has boosted developer confidence in the area as available sites become more scarce in neighboring Tribeca.