SYDNEY – Westfield Group announced Friday it plans to manage a new shopping precinct at the site of New York’s World Trade Center, as the world’s largest listed shopping mall operator strikes a deal to return almost 10 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Sydney-based company said in a statement it had agreed in principle on the commercial terms of a joint venture with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop the new retail precinct.
Westfield would manage and lease out the retail space expected to open in early 2015.
“After being initially involved in the World Trade Center prior to September 11, 2001, and working with the Port over the past 10 years, we are excited about our partnership to rebuild the World Trade Center retail,” Westfield joint chief executive Peter Lowy said in the statement.
“We will be creating a world-class, iconic shopping experience for Lower Manhattan and the City of New York,” he added.
Westfield will invest $612.5 million for a 50 per cent share in the joint venture.
Westfield said it could invest up to a further $37.5 million on achieving agreed yield targets.
The deal is subject to completion of legal documentation, due diligence and final board approvals. Westfield expects the deal will be closed late this year.
Westfield had an interest in the centre’s retail outlets before the twin towers were destroyed.
The company then sold its interest to the port authority in 2003 to simplify the rebuilding process.
Plans for the retail premises include about 365,000 square feet (34,000 square meters) of leasable space. A further 90,000 square feet (8,400 square meters) may be added later.
Westfield has 119 shopping malls across the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.