Like the phoenix rising from its ashes, New York’s World Financial Center has recently opened its retail doors after a considerable $250 million dollar renovation and the creation of a world-class luxury shopping complex located directly across from the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. The newly baptised “Brookfield Place” has, over the past two years, evolved into a fashion and foodie paradise, with over 30 retail boutiques, a bevy of restaurants, an equally impressive food court, and other modern amenities including a sleek new Equinox Gym. This rebirth of not only the physical structures of Ground Zero, but also to the very fabric of day to day life in Lower Manhattan is a testament to American resolve and New York’s unique ability to adapt and evolve despite its narrow avenues, demanding population, and lack of developable land.
Located in Battery Park City in the Financial District, the complex is owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Office Properties, a global commercial property company that owns, operates and invests in best-in-class office, retail, industrial, multifamily and hotel assets. Their office division develops and manages premier office properties in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom with a core portfolio comprised of more than 90 million square feet in New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, London, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The group also sponsors Arts Brookfield, a global initiative that provides free arts and cultural activities in its public spaces.
Brookfield has positioned itself as a new luxury shopping destination in lower Manhattan, offering both tourists and local residents an array of internationally acclaimed brands including Hermès, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Burberry, Omega, Ermenegildo Zegna, and contemporary fashion brands such as Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Michael Kors, Vince, Paul Smith, and Lululemon. “When we started thinking about what types of stores [to feature], we first thought of who lives downtown—that young, wealthy, well-educated demographic,” stated Ed Hogan, Brookfield’s director of retail leasing to Bloomberg News. “It’s really about dressing that downtown New York woman and man.” An 85,000-square-foot Saks Fifth Avenue concept store will also open at Brookfield in early 2016. The space will offer an edgier, cooler version of the 117 year old retailer which will be showcasing its denim, footwear, and accessories collections at its newest location. Brookfield also boasts an impressive roster of best-in-class dining options including Hudson Eats, a curated collection of 14 chef-driven fast-casual eateries; Le District, a 30,000-square-foot French-inspired marketplace; and eight signature restaurants including L’Atelier, Amada, and Parm.
Yet Brookfield Properties is not alone in this renaissance which also extends across the entire Financial District. Hot on the heels of the Brookfield Place refurb comes the opening of Westfield WTC and the much awaited arrival of Italian Gourmet Emporium, Eataly. Westfield will feature a mix of premium and luxury retailers and restaurants such as Épicerie Boulud, Lore Wine & Spirits, La Colombe, Beer Table, Noble Tree Coffee, FIKA, Nunu Chocolates, Joe Coffee and Minamoto Kitchoan, and Jones the Grocer.
Prime office and residential space is also the hot topic of the Financial District, with the the completion of the new World Trade Center Building, also known as the Freedom Tower and its impressive list of tenants including Condé Nast. Prime luxury residential properties including The Beekman, a 68-unit condo tower attached to a 287-room Thompson Hotel at 5 Beekman St are also catering to the influx of new residents to the area. It is estimated that since 2,000, rather than declining after the attacks of 9/11, the population of the Financial District has almost doubled to 43,000 residents and is slated to continue to grow in the coming years.
Commercial initiatives such as Brookfield, Westfield, and the growing number of residential projects currently proliferating throughout the area have also giving rise to a brand new future for Manhattan, one that is transforming both the landscape and the mentality of a new New York, poised for the future. Prior to 2000, Wall Street and its accompanying Battery park City neighbourhoods were literally abandoned after the closing bell of the NYSE. Today, a vibrant community is coming to work and live in the newly developed enclave.