After years of planning and work stores, ranging from the Apple Store to Banana Republic and from Eataly to Fossil, officially began welcoming customers at the World Trade Center shopping mall. The 365,000-square-foot center mall will have more than 100 stores, with about 60 opened two weeks ago and the rest will be open by year-end.
The largest tenant is Apple, which opened a two-floor space that boasts a minimalist exterior and the tech giant’s typical wooden furnishings.
The enormous shopping center includes street-level retailers at WTC towers 3 and 4, along with subterranean galleries that run throughout the WTC campus. A skylight in the central hall allows natural light to fill the massive white skeletal structure—apparently symbolizing "the image of a dove released from a child's hand". Every year on the anniversary of the attacks, the skylight of the Oculus will open to bring a slice of the open New York sky into the building.
Westfield corporation, one of the world’s leading shopping centre companies with retail destinations in London, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles has a 99-year lease on the project from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land.
Westfield believes 15 million travelers will use the hub by next year, especially as more direct subway entrances, such as to the 1 and the R, are completed. More than 60,000 residents live within blocks of the World Trade Center area now , about three times the number from right before 9/11.
The mall is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
The concourse, where the shops are located, was originally slated to debut in 2009 and cost roughly $2 billion. It was opened in March 2016 and ultimately ballooned in cost to $4 billion.
Spanish-born architect Sanitago Calatrava (born 1951), who built Oculus, has gained international celebrity for structures that suggest the shapes and the motion of organic entities, even as they rely in their construction on the modernist triad of concrete, glass, and steel.
Calatrava told architectural digest half a year ago about Oculus:
My family purchased a home in New York after the events of September 11. When I began to design the concept, my inspiration was rooted in the feeling permeating through the streets of New York during that tragic moment in history. A part of us was feeling dead inside, yet we knew we had to persevere, to push forward. With this in mind, I had the deepest desire to build something exceptional, something that had the calming sense of peace and hope for future generations who walk through the space.
I already wrote about the Oculus and Calatrava in my blog.