Tag archives for | World Trade Center

Tag archives for: World Trade Center

‘Provocative’ proposal made for new bus garage

Developer Larry Silverstein is said to have offered a way to to build and pay for a facility in back of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Guess what’s in it for him.

On Tuesday, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye told a Crain’s Breakfast Forum about an idea proposed by developer Larry Silverstein to build and pay for a much-needed Manhattan bus garage. Mr. Foye called it “interesting, provocative,” but he offered no details.

A source said the idea, floated during last year’s leadership transition at the Port Authority from Christopher Ward to Mr. Foye, involves developing a site on West 39th Street and Dyer Avenue used most recently by Mercedes-Benz by the service road that funnels traffic to and from the Lincoln Tunnel just southwest of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Mr. Silverstein, who has a long-term letter of intent with the owner to develop that building, proposed constructing a bus garage capped by a residential tower.

Unanswered questions include how big the tower would have to be to generate sufficient income to finance the construction of the garage, and whether anyone would want to live on top of a bus garage in the heavily trafficked area. It also remains to be seen how much the Port Authority would pay.

Certainly, the idea of the Port Authority doing business again with Silverstein Properties presents political hurdles given the two entities’ complex relationship at the World Trade Center site. The developer declined to comment for this article.

On the plus side, a bus garage-cum-residential complex would solve a number of thorny logistical problems for the agency, which abandoned a bus garage development for lack of funds.

Because there’s no room inside the bus station and nowhere else to park, hundreds of New Jersey Transit buses return empty to the Garden State after dropping off morning commuters in Manhattan. They come back to the city to pick up passengers in the afternoon. A bus garage nearby would cut down on trans-Hudson River traffic, reduce air pollution and save money on fuel.

Part of the savings could be used by the Port Authority to lower terminal fees for short-haul intercity buses, including discount carriers that are under fire for using city sidewalks to load and unload passengers. Bus companies that use the terminal have already threatened to leave because they pay millions of dollars in rent and say free curbside parking for their competitors is unfair.

State legislation would actually allow the city to issue permits for private buses to pick up on the sidewalk. A bus garage could open space at the bus station for discount carriers like Megabus.com, which has a permit to use West 41st Street just outside the bus station as a depot.

“You could get more buses into the terminal,” the source said. “But you’d have to ban them from these sidewalk pickups.”

The insider called Mr. Silverstein’s idea “intriguing,” but it may be a pipe dream.

Mr. Foye would say only that he’s looking at fixing the problem. “It’s a serious question under serious review,” he said.


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Architects criticize W.T.C. security plan

Architect and Battery Park City resident Jordan Gruzen speaking at Community Board 1’s full board meeting on March 27, in opposition to the NYPD’s planned barricades and street closures around the W.T.C.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Jordan Gruzen, partner in the award-winning firm of Gruzen Samton Architects, doesn’t often make an appearance at Community Board 1 meetings, but he felt strongly enough about the N.Y.P.D.’s proposed World Trade Center security plan to show up at C.B. 1’s full board meeting on March 27 to speak against the plan.

Gruzen is co-chair of New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, planning and design organizations that first met a week after 9/11 in a pro bono effort to address the issues surrounding the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. At the Community Board meeting, Gruzen said he was speaking on behalf of New York New Visions.

“We are very concerned that the World Trade Center plan that has taken thousands of hours of individuals’ input to make it a vital, beautiful and fabulous urban place that people visit from all around the world, not be spoiled,” he said.

He referenced the Police Headquarters plaza, which his firm designed, and called conditions there “atrocious.” After 9/11 it was barricaded and blocked off from vehicle access.

“It’s a vital piece of the city that’s been allowed to fall into disrepair and we don’t want that to happen to the World Trade Center. There’s too much thought [put into it] and it’s too central to our culture and to our city’s vitality.”

In a telephone conversation after the Community Board meeting, Gruzen elaborated.

He said that for years, the members of New York New Visions had been privy to the plans for the World Trade Center site and had played an important role in formulating them.  “We were treated as trusted confidantes who would put our best minds at it,” he said,  “and we had some of the best names in the New York professional offices – notable architects who have a lot of integrity. At this point, we’ve been pushed aside and told [by the N.Y.P.D.] ‘it’s our decision. It’s our decision alone.’”

Gruzen said that New York New Visions concurred with Community Board 1, which has drafted a resolution spelling out the ways in which the proposed security plan would create unacceptable logistic problems for residents and businesses in the World Trade Center vicinity.

There would be checkpoints around a “superblock” and streets connecting the World Trade Center site with the rest of Manhattan would be essentially closed to traffic.

“The taxi drivers have said this isn’t going to work,” Gruzen said. “Lower Manhattan won’t be serviced the way it should be. There will be backups. I think the N.Y.P.D. is trying to be very responsible. I think they feel an obligation to the country and to the world. But the way they’ve interpreted that responsibility is having a consequence.”

Gruzen said that the members of New York New Visions did not have enough information at this point to make specific recommendations as to what should be done. “We need all the facts and we need to be treated as insiders,” he said. “We have been, for 10 years. Lately it’s been more and more difficult to access information and data, so one naturally draws the conclusion that the game is being played by the strictest and most extreme rules. That might be O.K. or it might not be. I don’t think we have the answer. All we’re saying is that with something as serious as this, we ask for a citizens’ design board to participate and be trusted and be allowed to at least express ourselves and hopefully find solutions that might lead to a ‘reasonable’ amount of risk in a high security area.”

Community Board 1 has a similar agenda. “We’ve asked for the creation of a citizens’ advisory committee so that we can work with [the N.Y.P.D.] as the study is being done to make sure that they consider the things that concern us,” said Michael Levine, director of planning and land use for Community Board 1. “If we wait for publication of the final draft Environmental Impact Statement, we have no idea what they will consider. They could ignore everything we’ve said.”

C.B. 1 chairman Julie Menin concurred. “Technically, we don’t have a right to block the plan but I think we’ve been able to show at Community Board 1 for many years that when we have an idea, and we make a lot of noise, we can get things done,” she said. “This is our time. Now is our time to try to change the plan.”


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Proposed S. Korean Towers Resemble Exploding World Trade Center

The unveiling of pictures of planned luxury residential towers scheduled to be built in Seoul, South Korea, has sparked instant controversy. The reason is obvious. The towers, which include a so-called “cloud” feature connecting them around the 27th floors, clearly resemble the World Trade Towers in the process of collapsing following the 9/11 attacks.

The designers of the towers, Dutch architectural firm MVRDV, have responded to the controversy by quickly publishing an apology in English. “It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks,” the designers insist, “nor did we see the resemblance during the design process.”

They did not see the resemblance during the design process? The problem with this assertion – apart from its inherent implausibility – is that they have admitted the contrary in Dutch. Thus Jan Knikker of MVRDV told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, “I have to admit that we also thought of the 9/11 attacks.”

Moreover, given the context, the MVRDV architects could hardly have not thought of the 9/11 attacks. The residential towers, after all, are supposed to be built at the entrance to the so-called Yongsan Dream Hub: a complex of business towers that has been designed by none other than Daniel Libeskind, the designer of the original “master plan” for the reconstruction of Ground Zero. Indeed, as the below image from Studio Daniel Libeskind makes clear, Libeskind’s Yongsan Dreamhub “master plan” closely resembles his original “master plan” for lower Manhattan.

Source: The Weekly Standard



















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9/11 Memorial Begins Taking Ticket Reservations, Thousands Reserve in First Few Hours

Tickets to the Sept. 11 memorial, which is due to open to the public the day after the 10th anniversary this year, are now available through an online reservation system.

More than 11,500 passes were reserved in the first few hours after the system was activated Monday, the organization said.

Timed reservations will be used for the memorial while construction continues on other World Trade Center projects over the next few years. Officials said the tightly-controlled system is designed to manage capacity and the flow of visitors while the site remains an active construction area.

It will “help ensure a safe and solemn experience for all,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.

The online ticketing system opened at 9 a.m. at www.911memorial.org/visitor-passes. Passes are free, but the form allows visitors to make donations when they reserve tickets.

Those who make reservations will receive an email confirmation and instructions to print their passes.

The memorial consists of two reflecting pools that evoke the footprints of the towers, which are each nearly an acre in size. They also feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.

The design was selected in 2004 and construction began in 2006.

The names of the victims from the 2001 attacks, along with those who died in the 1993 bombing, will be inscribed in bronze along the borders of the pools.

The memorial is on track to open Sept. 11, but only families and invited dignitaries will be allowed to visit on the 10th anniversary. Ticketed reservations begin the following day.

A separate hotline was established last week for 9/11 family members to reserve their own passes. Families can also reserve online.

Memorial officials are expected to limit the number of visitors to about 1,500 at a time.

Groups of 10 or more are asked to contact [email protected] or call 212-266-5200.

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Port in talks on huge WTC retailing deal

Opens discussions with Westfield, which successfully ran retailing at original trade center; seeks plan for 360,000 square feet of shop and restaurant space that will be built.


In the last few weeks, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has started negotiations with The Westfield Group to try to finalize an agreement reached in 2008 to jointly develop the retail space at the World Trade Center site, sources close to the discussions said.

These sources said the Port wants to know by mid-fall if it can seal a deal with Westfield. That would give the agency enough time to either find another partner or move forward by itself in developing a plan for the approximately 360,000 square feet of retail space that will be initially built at the site. Roughly 200,000 square feet of that space is in the Calatrava transit hub, which is slated to open in 2014.

In 2008, the Port Authority and Westfield signed a letter of intent whereby the Port agreed to provide approximately $825 million toward the $1.45 billion project, with Westfield providing the other $625 million. However, that deal was based on projections of about 488,000 square feet of retail space. That total has shrunk, in part because there are no immediate plans to build one of Larry Silverstein’s three towers.

These sources said the two parties were discussing various economic issues but declined to be specific. A spokesman for the Port Authority declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for Australia-based Westfield didn’t return a call. Westfield has interests in and operates one of the world’s largest shopping center portfolios valued in excess of $58 billion with 119 properties in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Real estate experts said it made sense for the Port to focus on the retail portion of the site now that commercial tenant interest in the buildings is growing. Last month, the Port signed a 1 million-square-foot deal with Cond´ Nast for 1 World Trade Center. Meanwhile, published reports said Swiss financial giant UBS was considering moving into one of Mr. Silverstein’s towers.

Additionally, the Port doesn’t want to lose any significant retail tenants to its neighbor across West Street, the World Financial Center. There, owner Brookfield Office Properties plans a $250 million renovation of the retail space, which is slated to begin in October and run through 2013.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, Westfield had net leased the World Trade Center retail components, one of the highest-grossing shopping areas in the nation, which consisted of 427,000 square feet. In December 2003, to accelerate the rebuilding at the World Trade Center site, the Port acquired the retail net lease from Westfield.

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Condé Nast deal at 1 WTC now official

Port Authority approves historic lease Wednesday under which Condé Nast will become the anchor tenant of lynchpin tower at reborn World Trade Center site.

1 World Trade Center is slated to land an anchor office tenant Wednesday. Photo by Buck Ennis.

After months of intense negotiations, the board of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey approved a deal on Wednesday that paves the way for Condé Nast Publications to become the anchor tenant of 1 World Trade Center.

The Port, which owns the World Trade Center site, is also expected to complete its deal to sell a stake in the 1,776-foot-tall, 104-story tower to the Durst Organization for $100 million. Sources have estimated that would buy about 10% of the building, but a Durst spokesman said the stake’s value can only be determined after the 3 million-square-foot building’s worth is fully established.

Under the leasing deal, the publisher of Vogue, The New Yorker and other publications, will pay $1.9 billion over the course of a 25-year lease for 1 million square feet of space on 21 floors of the tower. The building is slated for completion in 2013. The transaction is widely seen as a boon for the downtown market, where commercial vacancy rates have remained higher than in other areas of New York since the recession. The deal is another major sign of the rebirth of the trade center site, where redevelopment plans struggled for years to get traction and the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks approaches.

“From travel to fashion to cultural critiques, the Condé Nast imprint lends authority to any subject. The same can be said with real estate,” said Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward. He called the company a “trend setter,” and noted that its previous move to Times Square in 1999 helped solidify that once-seedy district as a proper corporate address.

In a statement released by the Port, Condé Nast chairman S. I. Newhouse Jr. said the company has thrived in New York “in part due to the city’s indefatigable energy, power and vitality.”

“We are proud to be taking part in the revitalization of lower Manhattan,” he said.

Sources said that under the deal, Condé Nast will pay an average of $60 a square foot for the first 10 years of the 25-year lease. However, that is before receiving $5 a square foot in various tax incentives, which the publisher will receive for the first 750,000 square feet of the lease. There is also a raft of other tax incentives available to tenants at the site, including lower real estate taxes and sales-tax exemption on items bought to outfit the offices.

The Port was anxious to lure the prestigious firm to the tower. As part of the deal, the agency will agree to take responsibility for the remaining years of the lease at Condé Nast’s current headquarters at 4 Times Square.

This is the second corporate tenant for One World Trade Center. Last year, China-based Vantone Industrial Co. signed a lease for nearly 191,000 square feet. Rents will start at $80 a square foot and increase over the course of the lease, which extends for nearly 21 years.

Meanwhile, federal and state agencies have committed to leasing about 1 million square feet in the tower.

Source:  AP & Crain’s New York Business

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Progress Report: Ground Zero Projects

1 World Trade Center: It’s reported that it’s currently rising about one story per week, with 64 of the 104 floors built. Estimated completion: End of 2013

2 World Trade Center: Crews are currently working on the basement. Estimated completion: Undetermined

3 World Trade Center: Basement work is going slowly, full tower construction is in flux. Estimated completion: Depends on finding a tenant

4 World Trade Center: Steel is going up and the structure stands about 23 stories, rising about one floor per week. Estimated completion: Sometime in 2013

9/11 Memorial: Work is ongoing with opening day set for 9/11/11

9/11 Museum: Crews are currently working below memorial plaza. Estimated completion: Sometime in 2012

PATH Hub: Workers continue on as the costs are soaring, currently standing at $3.4 billion. Estimated completion Sometime in 2014

Source:  NYC-Tower

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