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By JANEL BLADOW | ORIGINALLY POSTED APRIL 4, 2014 | M.T.A. officials did a lot of bragging about the Fulton Center Wednesday night at Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee meeting. They also hope that retail and dining inside the new transportation hub will appeal to Lower Manhattan residents and commuters, more than tourists.
First, the transportation hub took home a Diamond Award in the environmental category from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York at their 47th annual Engineering Excellence awards dinner March 29.
Next, Uday Durg, a senior vice president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, noted that the glass façade on Broadway is finished, the sidewalk is open and the scaffolding has been taken down. On Fulton St., the sidewalk and façade are done and the curb is in.
Then, he went through the building floor-by-floor detailing what construction is done – from turnstiles installed on the concourse level to the TV screens installed in the communications center through the curved glass handrails along the spiral staircase.
“Of the 12 contracts awarded [to build the structure], 11 are completed,” he said. “We are on schedule to be done by June.”
The target date is June 26.
“This is amazing news,” said C.B. 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes. “You had this June target date for many years. And it’s happening.”
She had concern about the underpass connection to the World Trade Center under Dey St., which Durg said would be completed in six months.
“We’re very excited,” added Eve Michel, the M.T.A.’s vice president of development and chief architect. “We are pleased with the project –transportation and shopping, see it as a destination for Lower Manhattan and want to determine the best way to maximize this $1.4 billion asset.”
“We’ve wanted to do this for quite some time,” said George Giaquinto, vice president of the Westfield Group, the international mall developer that has been hired to lease the retail space in Fulton Center as well as at the W.T.C. He described how the company has leading destination shopping centers in Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco and “two in London.”
Giaquinto said that they are just beginning to look into companies to lease space and that the company expects some retail to open in the fall. Retail shopping and dining kiosks and shops will be located on the platform, concourse and street levels while upper areas “would be perfect for incubator tech groups. We hope to draw more tech companies downtown.”
Most of the spaces are small by retail standards he said and added that there will not be any “anchor” stores.
“We want the neighborhood to feel a part of this,” he said. “We want them to shop there. We want to add to the mix (of retail and dining) in the neighborhood.”
Dining will be on the second and third concourse levels and he hopes “people will gather and linger there.”
Service shops such as dry cleaners will not be a part of Fulton Center, he said. Nor will tourist retail be a part of the atmosphere. However, he added that retail at Fulton Center versus World Trade Center shopping will differ yet be complementary.
As a 24/7 facility, more than 300,000 people will pass through the complex daily.
“We see Fulton Center as not only for New Yorkers but for visitors who want to experience what New York City is.”