More than 60,000 residents are now living in the blocks around the Trade Center, according to the Downtown Alliance. Another 4,400 units are under construction. Families are packing the World Financial Center across the street, and millennials are buying apartments in the old office buildings around Wall Street.
There's no doubt that a huge crowd of potential shoppers is downtown. You don't even need the statistics. On any given day, you can see hordes of people wandering up and down Broadway and Church — the two major north-south arteries downtown.
But is it enough to make the project a success? On the surface, there's plenty of competition. Saks Fifth Avenue is slated to open in early September 2016, and Brookfield Place in the World Financial Center is continuing to roll out new stores, including Joie and Jo Malone London adding to the upscale shops and restaurants.
But there may be room for everyone. Brookfield is a higher-end project. It has Burberry, Gucci, Hermes, Tory Burch, Ferragamo, while Westfield, with an H&M, a Banana Republic, an Under Armour and a Lacoste has more mixed price points.
"The hope is that more breeds more. People who work here have a lot of disposable income, so there's plenty of demand to go around," Lappin told me.
Westfield says that a "majority" of the stores will be open on August 16th. In a May update to investors, Westfield also said that the $1.4 billion project was fully leased. However, The Real Deal reported three weeks ago that Westfield had sued Bebe for failing to take possession of the space. Bebe claims the store was not delivered on time or in a "ready condition" for it to occupy.
Westfield has not commented on the report, but it wouldn't be a big surprise to find that out of 125 companies there were a few who had changed their plans.
Note: After this story was published, Westfield responded via email: "The space is fully leased, including the four spots discussed in that story."