Shopping centre giant Westfield Group is offering to foot the $US1.3bn (A$1.6bn) bill to build a retail complex at the World Trade Centre site in a bid to break an impasse and seize a bigger role in the site's redevelopment.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the World Trade Centre site, has warmly greeted the proposal, which closely resembles the plan the agency has been advocating.

The Port Authority is at loggerheads with private developer Larry Silverstein, who has rights to develop three office towers on the site. Their long-running dispute, coupled with the recession, is threatening to further delay efforts to rebuild the complex, which was destroyed close to eight years ago in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Australian Online