Volume 20, Number 48 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 13 - 19, 2011
With big day approaching, updates and questions
BY Aline Reynolds
In fewer than 160 days, millions of people will descend on Lower Manhattan to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. On Monday night, April 11, three agencies charged with making sure that day goes smoothly presented their latest plans to Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee.
The last site to be excavated in the W.T.C. complex, according to Quentin Brathwaite, assistant director of W.T.C. construction for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is 130 Liberty Street. Brathwaite said that the Port Authority is blasting rock at 130 Liberty, the former site of the Deutsche Bank tower, on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. This has been disturbing the sleep of Cedar St. resident and C.B. 1 member Pat Moore and other nearby residents.
“That schedule, and length of the hours we’re working, is really a result of not getting access to the entire site as early as we would have liked,” Brathwaite told the committee.
The project, he assured the committee, is nevertheless on schedule.
Brathwaite also spoke about the W.T.C. transportation hub, whose arches will make up the center’s mezzanine level and are fully erected. The facility, which will be three times the size of a standard football field, will serve as the main floor of part of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
“You’ll get off on the PATH [station] platform and come up a set of stairs, which will bring you to the mezzanine level. That’s where you’ll pay your fare, also where you’ll exit [to street level],” said P.A. Spokesperson Steve Coleman.
The West St. tunnel, which will connect to the transportation hub, is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The P.A. has ceased discussions with the St. Nicholas Greek Church, which is suing the government agency for tampering with what it claims to be its former and current properties at 155 Cedar St. and 130 Liberty St., respectively.
“They have a right to rebuild at [155 Cedar St.], and we’re building in a way that would not preclude that from happening,” Brathwaite told the committee.
More efficient public transportation
In light of the memorial’s opening in September, the W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee passed a resolution calling for more streamlined public transportation access — modeled after the E-Z pass system — to accommodate an anticipated five to seven million visitors later this year.
In a resolution the committee passed unanimously Monday evening, board members requested that the P.A., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the relevant ferries “seriously consider creating a single pass for the M.T.A., the Port Authority Trans-Hudson and ferry, like other great international cities, thus ensuring that the green existence of Lower Manhattan begins with the visitor’s trip.”
The Green Lease program, part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative, entails collaboration between landlords and tenants to implement “green” infrastructure when retrofitting existing office buildings or building new ones.
Seven World Trade Center was the first commercial office building citywide to implement the program. Tenancy in that building is now at 90 percent capacity, according to Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center Properties, a division of Silverstein Properties, who appeared before the C.B. 1 committee.
The P.A. and the City, Lieber noted, have already agreed to comply with the “green” technology requirements as future tenants of W.T.C. 4.
As for the future tenants in the rest of Tower 4 and the other W.T.C. buildings, Silverstein Properties can’t guarantee the program’s implementation, since the tenants must agree to the terms. Silverstein Properties will be strongly encouraging it, however, by making it a suggested part of the lease conditions.
“We’re confident they’ll agree to it,” said Lieber, since it provides cost-saving advantages to the tenants, including notable drops in their electricity bills.
Lieber also reported that the southern part of Greenwich Street, currently closed for construction, will be completed in time for the opening of the memorial in September. Once cars are screened at the Vehicle Security Center, they’ll then be able to travel down Greenwich Street and into the World Trade Center complex.
The foundation of Tower 3, meanwhile, is now complete, according to Lieber. The building’s retail space, he reported, will open in spring 2012.
One W.T.C. is now 62 floors high and is continuing to rise at the rate of one floor a week. It will have a sprawling, elegant lobby that will be three times the size of the lobby of Seven W.T.C., according to Lieber.
9/11 memorial plaza update
The memorial plaza, scheduled to open by September, will be designed as a waiting area for 700 to 800 memorial visitors for 40 minutes at a time. The surrounding fence will be adorned with way-finding signs, including a map of the plaza, to “operate [the memorial] efficiently, minimize interruptions, and make for a better experience [for visitors],” according to James Connors, executive vice president of operations at the September 11th Memorial and Museum.
The signs will also remind visitors to bring the required reservation passes, Connors said, which will be available at the 9/11 memorial preview site (at 20 Vesey St.), City Hall Park and other locations in Battery Park and the South Street Seaport. The memorial team also plans to form partnerships with the Skyscraper Museum, the NYC Police Museum and other cultural institutions, to distribute the passes.
Visitors will enter along Cedar St., pass through security screening and exit onto Cedar St. when leaving the memorial. The facility will open at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends, and will close around sundown.