Insider's Tour of Brookfield Place Retail
The 250k SF of retail in the reimagined Brookfield Place is 70% leased and likely will be all spoken for by spring. Few have seen the progress on the developer’s $250M retail renovation of the office complex, hidden by temporary construction walls. We took a peek behind.
We snapped Brookfield retail leasing head Ed Hogan in Brookfield Place’s Winter Garden, the one spot that has remained recognizable while the developer transforms 225 Vesey, 250 Vesey, and 225 Liberty. There is one change here, though. The palm trees in the 90-foot atrium were replaced six months ago because they’d grown too tall, to 70 feet. The walls here will be lined with luxury retailers, as will the walk to the transit pavilion directly behind the grand staircase behind Ed. The great thing about luxury retailers, he says, is that they create beautiful facades.
To the south of the Winter Garden (the blue wall in our picture of Ed) will be two big dining locales. Hudson Eats, which will open on the second floor this spring (along with Equinox in the fall), will feature top-of-the-line restaurant finishes and a view of the Hudson for fast-casual, healthy eateries. The idea is to give office workers, tourists, and families a classy, healthy place to casually drop in and chow, an option now missing from the Downtown scene. The Le District market will take up the ground level and both be accessible from inside and open up onto the plaza. The market, which will house one of Brookfield Place’s six full restaurants, will open in the fall.
Here’s the south-looking view inside the 35k SF Hudson Eats, fully leased to 14 vendors at about 700 SF each. The linear light fixtures will hover over standing dining tables among the purveyors, and sit-down tables will offer views out the windows. Ed points out the $2M acoustic ceiling to cushion the volume, the marble columns, and the woodwork. Umami Burger will open its second location here, joining fare like SkinnyPizza and Dig Inn Seasonal Market. Olive’s, too, made news when it announced it would open a long-awaited second location here.
Ed tells us he started leasing with the food spots first (as opposed to the luxury and contemporary fashion stores) out of necessity; Brookfield had to rip out the old food court (north of the Winter Garden) to begin demolition for the two-level contemporary fashion spot that we snapped above, and the office workers need their lunch options back ASAP. The far wall will look north over Vesey toward Goldman Sachs’ retail options. Like the rest of Brookfield Place’s retail, it’ll be mostly glass. The area will be flooded with light, Ed says, a nod to the modern wisdom that natural light increases retail sales (except at Gap Vampire). All the fashion retail will open in March 2015.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, we also snapped the corridor from Brookfield Place’s entrance/pavilion walking east under West Street and the WTC toward the PATH.