By  on January 19, 2007

Red Westfield banners stretched as far as the eye could see as hundreds of Aussies, New Yorkers and fashionistas from around the globe packed the Skylight Studios in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood Wednesday night for the Ford Supermodel of the World competition.

Westfield, the world's largest retail real estate owner, with $44.2 billion in property in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the U.S., came to sponsor the Ford modeling competition by way of G'Day USA's Australia Week, a marketing campaign of the Australian tourism board and several major corporations.

Westfield, based in Sydney, has sponsored G'Day USA events in the past, but this marriage of the worlds of fashion — the models wore outfits from up-and-coming Australian designers — and retail real estate was a great fit for the company's fashion-forward centers, noted Peter Lowy, managing director of Westfield.

Last fall, the company opened two major new developments. In September, it launched the $460 million Westfield San Francisco Centre, in a joint venture with Forest City Enterprises, which features 170 stores, including Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and specialty stores Coach, Juicy Couture and Martin + Osa. In October, the company introduced the $350 million renovation of Westfield Topanga, the first shopping center to have both Target and Nordstrom as anchors. Neiman Marcus and other luxury tenants are expected to open in Topanga next fall.

As Westfield hosted supermodels downtown, Robert K. Futter­man & Associates signed a deal in Union Square for G-Star Raw, which plans to open its second retail store in Manhattan this summer. The 5,500-square-foot unit, at 873 Broadway, will join Puma, Diesel and American Eagle Outfitters in Union Square.

In Midtown, Elie Tahari signed a 15-year deal to take over the 50th floor of Manhattan's Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park for its 30,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and showroom. One Bryant Park, developed by The Durst Organization and designed by Cook + Fox Architects, is one of the most environmentally advanced office buildings in the country. The Durst Organization was represented in-house and Tahari was represented by Norman Bobrow & Co. and Morrison Cohen LLP. No move-in date has been set. The brand also plans to open a flagship in East Hampton, N.Y., in August.Timing was the major question after Wednesday's news that Canadian asset manager Brookfield would buy Mills. Analysts were asking why Brookfield would take on the company's debt and litigation costs, and some observers said they expected a bidding war to begin if Israeli investors continue increasing their offer for the company. Mills stock closed Thursday down 2.7 percent at $21.85.

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