Port, Silverstein update board on rebuilding


By Julie Shapiro

While the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties did not provide many dates at Monday’s meeting of Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Committee, officials did update the board on some aspects of the Trade Center rebuilding, including recent progress at the memorial and 1 W.T.C.

Janno Lieber, president of Silverstein’s World Trade Center Properties, also gave an update on the Four Seasons condo and hotel tower that is supposed to rise just north of the site at 99 Church St.

Foundation work on the tower will finish by early July, and then Silverstein will likely halt construction because they have been unable to secure a loan. But Lieber said Silverstein has not given up on the project and has gotten some interest internationally because of the Four Seasons name.

“We’re seeing some glimmers of positive signs, but it’s obviously a tough market,” Lieber said, echoing remarks Larry Silverstein made about the tower last week. “If we do obtain the full financing, we’re going to build that building.”

One good piece of news the C.B. 1 committee heard Monday night came from a board member: Pat Moore, who lives at 125 Cedar St. across from the W.T.C. site, announced that soundproof windows for her and her neighbors have finally arrived.

The Port Authority agreed more than a year ago to pay for soundproof windows for the buildings closest to the Trade Center construction, but it took months for the owner of Moore’s building to agree. Now, some of the windows are in place at 125 Cedar and more are coming, so Moore and her neighbors can finally get some sleep when the Port’s work goes round the clock.

Moore had several questions for Silverstein Properties about the incident last month where a tower crane for Silverstein’s Tower 4 stretched over a bustling Church St. in a violation of safety rules.

“Our team screwed up,” said Lieber, of Silverstein Properties.

David Worsley, a vice president with World Trade Center Properties, promised that no similar incidents would happen when Tower 4’s second tower crane is installed at the end of the summer. That’s partly because the new crane will be about 50 feet to the west of the current one, so it wouldn’t physically be able to extend that far over the street, but also because of new safety measures contractor Tishman Construction Corp. implemented, Worsley said.

One board member asked about the communications spire that was supposed to go atop 1 W.T.C., bringing the Freedom Tower to its symbolic 1,776 feet. The spire was going to broadcast television channels, but after reports of that deal falling through, it was unclear what would happen to the spire.

Glenn Guzi, a Port Authority program director, said the lost revenue the spire would have generated will not substantially affect the project, and the spire itself will definitely remain.

“Whether [it is] an architectural feature or a functioning communications mast is irrelevant,” he said.

The Port Authority also discussed the potential move of the damaged globe sculpture that once dominated the World Trade Center plaza and is now displayed in Battery Park. The Port said plans are afoot to move the sphere out of Battery Park and possibly back to the World Trade Center site. Quentin Brathwaite, assistant director of W.T.C. construction for the Port, said the globe could return to its original location, between the two tower footprints, and could sit among the trees that will dot the memorial plaza which is scheduled to open in a few years.

One piece of the W.T.C. site that often gets forgotten is the performing arts center, which needs a massive fundraising campaign before it can get off the ground. The city hasn’t made a move to start the fundraising, but the Port Authority is building underground infrastructure as though the PAC will one day rise. At Monday’s meeting, it sounded like the Port was getting frustrated by the absence of a clear plan for the center.

“Certainly it would be helpful if there was more information about what the future plan will be,” Guzi said.