The Westfield Group (ASX: WDC) has announced that it has entered into a Letter of Intent with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reacquire an interest in the retail premises at the World Trade Center site.
The Letter of Intent is the culmination of several years of cooperation between the Port Authority and Westfield. Under the terms of the transaction, Westfield and the Port Authority will form a joint venture to own the retail facilities, with Westfield responsible for management and leasing for the joint venture. Westfield will invest up to US$625 million in development costs. The transaction is subject to completion of legal documentation, due diligence and required approvals.
"We are excited to be back," said Westfield Group Managing Director Peter Lowy. "We always wanted to be a part of the revitalization of this historic site once the plans were finalized. With the Port Authority, we look forward to creating a world-class, iconic shopping destination for Lower Manhattan."
Plans for the retail premises currently include approximately 488,000 ft² of GLA spread across multiple levels, with the primary retail space located in the new transit terminal designed by Santiago Calatrava, and at street level.
Westfield originally acquired an interest in the retail facilities at the World Trade Center in July, 2001. In December 2003, Westfield sold its interest in the World Trade Center retail premises to the Port Authority to help simplify the rebuilding process by avoiding the inherent conflict between its commercial/lease rights and the interests of the public.
As part of its global portfolio, Westfield has designed and developed award winning shopping centers in landmark cities around the world. Among the company's most recent retail icons are: Westfield Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia; Westfield San Francisco Centre in San Francisco; Westfield Century City in Los Angeles; Westfield London (opening fall 2008); Westfield Stratford City, also in the United Kingdom and adjacent to the site of the 2012 Olympic Games (opening 2011); and Westfield Sydney City (opening 2011).