Forest City Enterprises, the developer of the 835 Market Street project in downtown San Francisco, and Westfield America (ASX: WFA), the owner of the San Francisco Centre, today announced a business agreement to integrate, develop and market the two sites, creating one of the nation’s largest urban retail destinations. The interconnected venues will boast the second largest Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom in the country, a state-of-the-art theatre complex and over 200 specialty stores.

"Two of the nation's leading real estate companies have come together to develop a premier retail and entertainment destination that will provide substantial benefits to the City of San Francisco," said Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. "This one-of-a-kind project will give San Francisco's retail core a huge boost by attracting millions of new shoppers. Businesses from Union Square to Yerba Buena will benefit from the increase in consumers drawn to the area, and the City will benefit from a surge in tax revenue, thousands of new jobs and millions in community contributions."

The agreement between Forest City and Westfield leverages the companies’ strengths to effectively develop, lease and manage the property. Forest City is the developer of 835 Market Street with approved plans to revitalize the site into a Bloomingdale's Department Store, nine-screen cinema, retail shops and offices. Westfield is the largest retail landlord in the State of California and owns the San Francisco Centre. As part of the agreement, Westfield will lease and manage the new San Francisco Centre.

Research estimates the new San Francisco Centre will attract over 25 million shoppers each year. At the 1.5 million square-foot center, there will be a total of 3,350 permanent jobs. Additionally, the project will generate 770 new union construction jobs. The new San Francisco Centre is expected to generate $500 million in annual sales.

"Our combined development experience, leasing capabilities and capital gives us a variety of tools to build a spectacular world-class retail and entertainment destination," said James Ratner, President and CEO, Forest City Commercial Group.

"Joining these properties creates one vision for a world-class shopping experience that will tremendously benefit the City of San Francisco while becoming one of the premier retail destinations in the world," said Peter Lowy, CEO, Westfield Corp. "The collaborative partnership of Forest City and Westfield provides the combination of expertise and capability to bring this project to life."

At today’s news conference, Forest City and Westfield also announced: Groundbreaking for the new project is scheduled for fall of 2003. Nordstrom and the existing San Francisco Centre will remain open during construction; The new facility will open in summer 2006. The two properties will connect at five levels; Designs feature the famed 102-foot-wide glass and steel dome and rotunda and historic facade of 835 Market Street, which will be restored and, the unique oval-shaped atrium that currently illuminates the San Francisco Centre; Leasing begins immediately.

Upon completion, Federated will own and operate Bloomingdale’s as part of a long-term operating agreement.