Tourists and locals alike have a thrilling new reason to head downtown. The Westfield World Trade Center’s Oculus Mall opened on August, 16th 2016. The mall featured 60 stores at its opening but expects to grow that number to over 100 by the time the holiday shopping season hits.
The 35,000-square foot mall will feature state of the art technology like digital billboards, including one measuring 280 feet long. The central point of the mall is a transportation hub where 13 subway trains and ferry boats converge and over 300,000 commuters pass through daily. Beyond those daily commuters, another 15 million tourists are expected to visit the area next year. Investors expect the new mall to generate $1 billion in sales annually.
While most of the structure and shopping areas are located beneath street level, the focal point is the Winged Oculus which resembles a giant dove in flight released from a child’s hand. Artist Santiago Calarava designed the 160-foot tall Oculus and it’s many windows as a symbol of hope in the area known as Ground Zero. From the outside it is a beautiful addition to the downtown scene. Inside, it has everything that both locals and tourists have been asking for.
The open space within the Oculus will allow the mall to host a variety of events, entertainments, and art collections while easily handling the expected foot traffic. The World Trade Center Oculus Mall’s slogan is “The New, New York Place to Be.”
The mall meets the heavy demand for more shopping and eateries in the downtown area. It will feature some mall staples like the Apple Store and Forever 21, but is also bringing in some very exclusive stores as well. The Aldo Connected Store allows shoppers to use an app to request shoe sizes and speed up the shopping game.
British leather goods company Smythson of Bond Street is bringing its luxury items to the mall as well. They believe that the new location could impress their brand image on a new demographic. “We’re excited to be downtown,” Ruby Victor, head of marketing said to CNBC. “It’s a different customer downtown.”
It’s been almost 15 years since the tragedy of 9-11. Downtown New York will never be the same without the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center dominating its skyline. But now, with the Westfield World Trade Center Oculus Mall, there is again an elegant structure gracing the skyline.
David Milberg is a credit analyst in NYC.