Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Westfield Group, the world’s largest owner of shopping centers, is asking contractors and employees to work weekends and discouraging them from taking vacation as the company tries to open its new mall in east London on schedule, according to two people familiar with the project.
Work will be carried out every day until Westfield Stratford City is completed on Sept. 13, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. As many as 4,500 people are working on the 1.45 billion-pound ($2.4 billion) development close to the main site for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to Sydney-based Westfield’s U.K. website.
“Whilst there are people who are opting to work extended hours to deliver this iconic development, this is entirely voluntarily,” Laura Passam, a London-based spokeswoman for Westfield, said in an e-mailed statement.
Westfield Stratford City will be Europe’s largest urban mall. The 1.9 million square feet (177,000 square meters) of space in the shopping center will be divided into about 300 outlets, according to Westfield. The development also includes 1.1 million square feet of office space, three hotels, a 17- screen cinema, apartments and parking for 5,000 cars.
“We have always worked towards an opening date in the second half of 2011 and the September date was announced last year,” Passam said.
About 25,000 construction jobs have been created during the construction of Westfield Stratford City, the Australian company’s website shows.
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