Remaking Manhattan as a fashion mecca?

The first thing I thought when I heard the news that Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and more, had signed a 25-year, $2bn lease for a million square feet in the new One World Trade Center building was: but where will they shop? Where will they eat? After all, Ground Zero and lower Manhattan are not known for their glossy, glitzy retail outlets.

Ok, maybe those hard-working editors don’t have a lot of free time, but today the question was answered: they will shop at the new mall in the World Financial Center, which is located between the Hudson River and the World Trade Center Memorial.

The Gap, other mass retailers and food chains are leaving the existing mall as Brookfield Office Properties, the developer of the big riverfront building, embarks on a $250m upgrade for its space and seeks tenants to attract the sorts of names that appear in Vogue.

This seems yet another step in the remaking of Manhattan as a fashion mecca, and an example of how much emphasis Mayor Bloomberg’s administration places on the fashion world. After all, he helped spearhead New York Fashion Week’s move to Lincoln Center, he gave Ralph Lauren a key to the City, he helped Anna Wintour launch Fashion’s Night Out and he has been pivotal to talks on how to save the city’s Garment district.

Clearly, the current municipal government sees fashion as vital to fiscal recovery.

Of course, by the time the Ground Zero building is finished, in 2013, Mr Bloomberg will have left office, and a new mayor will be ensconced in City Hall. Whether he will buy into this repositioning of New York as a fashion driven economy is unclear, although by then, perhaps Mr Bloomberg will have succeeded in reshaping, or perhaps I should say restyling, Manhattan’s landscape permanently. Would it be pretty to think so?