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Westfield Wants Out of the Fulton Center

Westfield Corp. has informed the New York City Transit Authority that it intends to cease operations at the downtown Manhattan commuter hub Fulton Center less than halfway through its 20-year lease, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan by the transit authority that was reported by Bloomberg.

Westfield was awarded the rights to operate the Fulton Center in December 2013 and the hub opened nearly a year later, helping the area draw in developers and tenants as the city struggled to rebuild following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A Westfield representative told the authority last month that it wanted out of the lease because the center did not “work for” the company any longer, according to Bloomberg, and in a follow up letter, Westfield lawyers said the situation at the center was “financially unsustainable.”

Westfield’s parent, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, has been selling its US assets in an effort to reduce its exposure to the market but it is unclear if this move to vacate Fulton Center is part of that endeavor.  Bloomberg noted that the company could terminate the lease early in case of instances such as a structural defect, but according to the transit authority “none of those currently apply.”

The transit authority  is seeking a court order to block Westfield from terminating its operations early. “Westfield’s unauthorized cessation of its operations and termination of the lease would adversely affect not only the retail establishments in Fulton Center that Westfield subleased, but also members of the transit public who are customers of these retail outlets,” it said in its suit.
Reprinted with permission from the Fri, 16 Feb 2024 07:18:50 EST online edition of GlobeSt © 2024 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or reprints@alm.com.