Westfield Keeps It “Glassy” with New Entrance at Garden State Plaza Mall
Westfield is a leader in building, managing, and marketing large retail shopping centers. They are known throughout the world because of their innovation in design, process, and understanding their customers. Westfield’s Garden State Plaza is a two-story, upscale shopping mall located in Paramus, New Jersey at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 17 near the Garden State Parkway, about 15 miles west of Manhattan. With 2,118,718 square feet of leasable space and housing over 300 stores, it is the largest mall in New Jersey, the third-largest mall in the New York metropolitan area, and one of the highest-revenue producing malls in the United States. The mall has sales of more than $600 per square foot which is about $320 above the national average. Garden State Plaza is one of the most profitable malls in the country. To keep it that way, Westfield knew it would have to continue to renovate and modernize.
Garden State Plaza (GSP) is one of Westfield’s 16 flagship properties and one of 9 around the world with retail sales greater than $1 billion, drawing about 20 million visitors a year. This puts the Plaza squarely in the company of other elite shopping centers, such as King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania and Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California.
Westfield wanted to make a statement so it would continue to be on the forefront of creating truly unique and memorable shopping destinations for its tenants and guests. In many ways, this process of revitalization exemplifies Westfield’s strategy to elevate experiences for consumers with fantastic dining, hospitality, events, entertainment, and technologies all playing essential roles. Aside from this entrance, the design team’s plan also featured a new dining hall with an “urban bistro” concept, interior renovations focusing on digital interactivity, a new valet parking area, and upgrades to various external entrances.
Kenneth Park Architects (KPA) was retained by Westfield as Executive Architect to renovate some of the exterior facades and to create the new transparent, structural glass (number seven) entrance at GSP. Adjacent to the entrance, a new pedestrian-friendly site plan would create easier access. Combined, these transformations would help reinvigorate the complex for shoppers and both new and existing tenants.
To signal a refreshing and new experience in shopping, the design and construction team’s goal was to let in as much natural light as possible, which meant glass had to be a staple of the overall plan. Westfield worked with an extremely reliable and capable installation partner, W&W Glass, whom they are also currently working with on a massive structural glass skylight renovation and expansion project in San Jose, California called the Westfield Valley Fair Mall Renovation and Expansion. In fact, the two main entrances on the new Valley Fair Mall expansion require many of the same engineering parameters, design features (with signage connections), and elements of the Garden State Plaza entrance wall.
For GSP, W&W Glass supplied and installed a Pilkington Planar™ point-supported glass system with clear insulating glass units with a “K” low-e coating on the #3 surface for the vision glass areas and added a custom silk-screened vertical line ceramic frit pattern for the upper lites and areas where the wall met the roof. Structural glass fins supporting the face glass were made out of 19mm clear monolithic tempered glass. Pilkington Planar™ series 905 countersunk fittings secured the face glass to the fins thereby transferring all dead load and wind load. Custom connections and detailing allowed the Westfield signage to be seamlessly hung in front of the wall with the loads transferred back through the fittings to the fins.
Besides the new exterior entrances and introduction of new state-of-the-art digital media screens, the mall rebuilt the east parking garage, expanding it to five levels and 1,800 parking spaces. Adjacent to the garage, a new guest services office and a valet lounge was constructed as well. A year later, the mall added a 55,000 square foot wing at a cost of $160 million known as the “Fashion District” that has 22 stores and restaurants. Tenants in the Fashion District include: Microsoft Store, Michael Kors, LUSH, Armani Exchange, Au Bon Pain, and Urban Outfitters. This crown jewel of a mall is now perfectly positioned for continued success to meet the growing demands of consumers for the future.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.