A Hip WTC Mall Would be Cool, But Not as Cool as Times Square Aquarium
Matt Chaban Nov. 8, 2010, 10:34 a.m.
The Times sat down with retail maven Robert K. Futterman yesterday to discuss his work in the city. He talked about the reliability of Soho and Fifth Avenue during the recession, that neither has seen a rent dip (our guess is all those foreign tourists), as well as two especially intriguing projects in his portfolio.
The first is the retail space at the World Trade Center, which Futterman said is in talks with “all the household names,” something to be expected given the psuedo-mall’s size (500,000 square feet), prominence and, of course, everyone’s desire to be downtown.
There is also the little-known fact that, despite the aforementioned Fifth Avenue’s strength, the old World Trade Center mall was actually the most high-traffic, profitable place in the city, before it was destroyed on 9/11, something that no doubt makes the new venture all the more appealing.
Yet here is what Futterman said that really caught The Observer‘s pink eye: “You’ll probably have something hipper than any shopping mall, maybe a mix of local and international operators.” That sounds exciting. Sort of a Soho II, maybe?
Meanwhile, Futterman confirms the aquarium talks for 11 Times Square, about the only thing better for the area than a throwback peep show. But it also sounds like the building could be destined for more of the same pedestrian pablum.
We have 55,000 square feet on the ground, basement and second floor, but the retail could go up to the sixth floor. Most of the interest is from fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Old Navy. Consumer electronics are also interested, and restaurants.
Given that Disney has just opened its Times Square dreamland, this sounds just about right.