Ground Zero's retail prospects became clearer in October after New York state officials said that the latest plan calls for 550,000 square feet of shopping space to be developed in and around the site. The proposed development exceeds the former World Trade Center mall by almost 150,000 square feet. The plan, not yet final, includes about 300,000 square feet of street-level retail space along Church Street.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the 16-acre Twin Towers site, is working with developer Tishman Speyer Properties on the retail project. While commercial real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle is acting as a consultant to the Port Authority, Australian mall developer Westfield Group has the right of first refusal on any retail projects. Westfield leased the original space beneath the Trade Center.

“There really isn't much retail now supporting the lower Manhattan residential market, which has grown significantly since 9/11,” says Cliff Molloy, senior managing director of retail services at Manhattan-based brokerage GVA Williams.