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BY COLIN MIXSON
The show must go on!
Work has resumed on the performing arts center planned for the World Trade Center campus after Gov. Cuomo reached a lease agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.
Cuomo announced on Feb. 15 an agreement clearing the way for construction of a world-calibre cultural attraction at what’s already one of the city’s most heavily trafficked tourist destinations.
“With this new performing arts center, Manhattan will cement its reputation as an international hub for the arts,” Cuomo said. “This new facility will secure New York City’s status as a premier cultural destination while supporting tourism, jobs and economic growth for the entire Empire State.”
Under the deal, the bi-state agency will lease the 200,000-square-foot site to the preforming arts center for $1 a year for 99 years. The arrangement includes an option for an additional 99-year lease extension, and the possibility that the Port Authority could then sell the site to the center for the bargain price of a buck.
But the deal also includes some serious money changing hands. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will also fork over $48 million to the Port Authority to fund below-ground construction necessary to support the massive new cultural space.
Renderings of the REX-designed theater complex released in 2016 depict a grand, cube-shaped structure sheathed in thin sheets of translucent marble — to be sourced from the same quarry as the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. — which will permit light to flood in during the day, as well as create a glow from the building at night.
The three-floor center — dubbed the Ronald O. Perelman Preforming Arts Center after the billionaire philanthropist donated $75 million to the project — will include three auditoriums located in the structure’s upper levels that are capable of seating 499, 250, and 99 people respectively, with an additional rehearsal space that can also double as a theater.
Lower Manhattan was promised a performing arts center back in 2002 as part of a “master plan” for redevelopment of the WTC site in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but construction of the sprawling $4 billion Oculus Transportation Hub stalled the project by preventing the demolition of the temporary PATH train station, which occupied the theater’s future site.