Lower Manhattan's beleaguered World Trade Center redevelopment is inching slowly forward, with some major milestones expected in the next year or so.
The 1,776-ft-tall One World Trade Center—the tallest building in the Americas—is set to open this fall. It will be nearly 60% leased, says the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which is developing the project. In another development, Silverstein Properties Inc. announced it has pre-leased 500,000 sq ft in Three World Trade Center and is seeking financing to complete construction of the 80-story tower, which was capped at the eighth floor. Completion is set for 2018.
"We all wish we could have gotten [the redevelopment] done faster, but that does not diminish the pride we all should feel," said Larry Silverstein, the developer's chairman, at a Sept. 9 press conference. "It didn't happen overnight, and there were plenty out there who doubted it would ever succeed," said the developer of the completed 7 WTC and 4 WTC and the planned 2 WTC and 3 WTC.
Work restarted last month on the concrete core of 3 WTC, after the port authority board of directors agreed in late June to free up some of Silverstein’s insurance money to restart construction. Currently, about 200 workers are bringing the reinforced concrete core up to the 14th floor. Then, structural steel will follow, assuming permanent financing is secured. Silverstein expects to be able to issue enough Liberty Bonds in the next month to finance the remainder of the tower’s construction, says a spokesman for the developer.
Silverstein has no immediate plans to move ahead with the 88-story 2 WTC—the fourth office building within the 16-acre site—until a tenant is secured. The building sits completed to only street level.
The delayed, nearly $4-billion WTC Transportation Hub is running ahead of its most recent schedule and budget, reports the port authority. The Santiago Calatrava-designed hub is expected to be done during the second half of next year. In 2011, the opening had been set for this year, and the original cost was $2 billion.
The port authority could probably have found a way to have made the hub a success "without having spent so much money," said Scott Rechler, vice chairman of the port authority, at the press conference.
In other WTC developments, the board of the stalled Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center is currently considering hiring a new architect from three finalists, having thrown out a decade-old design by Frank Gehry. The board will not release the names of the finalists or any other details of the project.
The $1.4-billion Fulton Transit Center, originally scheduled to open in June, currently is set to open in December. The center is intended to improve access and connections among 11 subway lines and will provide an underground pedestrian link to the hub.
The museum component of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum opened in May. To date, there have been nearly 900,000 visitors. The memorial opened in 2011.
Daniel Libeskind, the WTC master planner, said, "We only need a little more patience" to see the completion of his vision for a mix of public space and commercial development. For this project, "you can't be just a planner, you have to be a believer," he said.