By Aimee Chanthadavong

After eight years of formal planning, 130 retail stores are now trading as part of stage one of Westfield Sydney’s opening.

Westfield group managing director Steven Lowy opened the doors to the company’s $1.2 billion redevelopment located on Pitt Street Mall, bordered by Castlereagh and Market Street.

"Westfield Sydney is our latest flagship centre and we think we have raised the bar on anything that we have previously done," he said.

“We’re all very excited and proud to see the light at the end of the tunnel for what has been a very long and complex journey.”

According to Lowy, the project will help revitalise Sydney’s retail life in the central business district and it will complement existing retailers in the area.

“It’s become increasingly obvious the CBD has been a retail destination for the people of Sydney but was sorely lacking the high quality offer apart, of course, from two of country’s best department stores, David Jones and Myer,” he said.

“A lot of retailers have moved out to the suburbs and of course Westfield has played a part in that. But we’ve always believed the city has always deserved a retail, leisure and dining experience.”

Sass & Bide, Ksubi, Zimmerman, Ginger and Smart and Hussy are some Australian fashion retailers that unveiled their stores as part of stage one of the project. Also, international brands Gap and DKNY Jeans have also opened their doors to Sydneysiders.

Already ahead of schedule by six months, Westfield Sydney will be home to 250 retail and food stores across seven levels with an office tower that will sit above the retail complex when completed in 2012.

Despite this success, the Westfield Group will continue to set new benchmarks, Lowy said.

“I assure you we have not arrived to our destination. When you get to a destination you’re on a journey you want to get to the next destination,” he said.

“The next major opening for us is Stratford City (in the UK) and is of equal size of Westfield London. It’s a 1.4 billion pound project that we’re building on the site of the 2012 Olympics. So that’s our next major journey and then we’ll be somewhere else after that.”