The new World Trade Center Mall is scheduled to open this week at ground zero of the Sept. 11 attacks. The mall includes over 300,000 square feet of shops and retail businesses with more than 100 commercial tenants. Only about half of the retail shops will open this week, with the remainder scheduled to open before the end of the year. The mall has been under development since Westfield’s $1.4 billion investment in 2014.
The mall’s visually stunning “Oculus” connotes a dove released into flight and is meant to represent hope and opportunity. The new mall is symbolic of the significant changes the area has undergone in the last 15 years. Residential space has significantly increased with nearly three times the number of residents that lived in the area in 2000. The median income for households in the area is also up 14 percent, and nearby monuments are expected to bring in as many as 15 million tourists next year. Westfield expects the mall to produce as much as $1 billion in retail sales.
The tourism anticipated is a strong motivator for the high-end retailers which have set up shop at the mall. Brands such as Apple, Victoria’s Secret, and Under Armor all have space, and the area has drawn a London luxury magnate, Smythson of Bond Street. Smythson’s Madison Avenue store is already a popular tourist destination.
Likewise, Aldo, a Canadian shoe store is launching at the mall with a new technological feature. For the first time, customers can shoppers can use their smart phone app to request shoes directly. The mall is the first of Aldo’s stores to launch with this technology.
While many feared the area would be difficult to rebuild, the city has taken efforts to acknowledge the history of the site while recreating a successful center of local and global commerce. Some 230,000 private employees work in the area again, and this number is the highest it has been since Sept. 11. With the opening of the mall, area businesses expect increased sales and a continual improvement to the once-devastated area.