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Map of the mall prior to its destruction.
The Mall at the World Trade Center following the September 11 attacks.

The Mall at the World Trade Center was a shopping center located in the concourse area of the World Trade Center before it was destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Contents

Prior to 9/11

Prior to September 11, the mall had been leased to The Westfield Group, who had intended to rename the mall Westfield Shoppingtown World Trade Center, and embark on a major expansion and renovation program. Plans called for the addition of 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of new mall space and a few well-known sit-down restaurants.

In January 2008, Westfield re-acquired the now re-developed property along with the city of New York and will be in the 1 World Trade Center complex.

Conditions in the Mall on 9/11

A commonly reported story of eyewitnesses inside the mall at the moment in which the first plane (American Airlines Flight 11) struck the North Tower is of fireballs fed by flaming jet fuel shooting down the elevator shafts and bursting out at the lobby, many reaching as far as the mall itself. As stated in the 9/11 Commission Report, "The Port Authority's on-site commanding police officer was standing in the concourse when a fireball exploded out of the North Tower lobby, causing him to dive for cover."[1] Survivor Allison Summers describes the conditions in the mall at that same moment as follows: "I had almost reached the Uptown 1 and 9 station when there was an enormous explosion. The building shook. I heard people say, 'Oh, no.' Some, not many, were screaming. ... I looked ahead past Banana Republic, past Citibank to the plaza outside. At that moment, there was a terrifying tidal wave of smoke filling the doorway. It began to shoot forward. The smoke had this enormous momentum that started to come towards us, as if it had a will of its own. We ran. We ran together past the Coach store. We ran to get out of the path of this enormous wave of smoke. It was like we were being chased. All the people on the concourse ran. We turned right, heading toward the PATH trains. As we ran, shop assistants were calling in doorways, 'What happened? What happened?' But we were running so fast we couldn't answer them and they ran with us. Some people were crying; some people were screaming. We moved as one body. No one pushed and no one shoved. We all had the same intention: to get out of the building."[2]

Shortly after the first impact, water began spraying into the mall from the broken or activated sprinklers. As Erik Ronningen describes, "I drag my body down through the decimated main lobby [of the North Tower], through a waterfall from the Mall ceiling, and wade the darkened Mall corridor through 75 yards (69 m) of ankle-deep water to Tower Two."[3]

Future Mall at the World Trade Center

The future Mall at the World Trade Center, currently under construction, calls for roughly 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of retail space, which will once again make it the largest shopping mall in Manhattan. Although the new mall will only be spread over roughly one half of the original mall's footprint (due to the new space required for the below-grade WTC museum), the mall will be double-level, whereas the original mall was a single-level mall. Three additional levels will also exist above-grade on the lower floors of Towers 2 and 3, and Tower 4 will house four above-grade levels.[4] According to developer Larry Silverstein:

"The design we have developed with the Port Authority calls for not only rebuilding the retail space that was lost on 9/11, but going above and beyond what was there before. We want to create a real destination for visitors and shoppers, a center that will share many of the attributes of the city’s great retail hubs."[4]

Construction on the 1 World Trade center portion of the mall began in mid-2007. The mall is expected to open in 2012.[4]

References

External links

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