December 9th - December 15th, 2005
Phoenix Constructors to Build the PATH Terminal and Transport Hub
Saturday, December 10: The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to authorize the award of a $1.1 billion contract to Phoenix Constructors, a consortium of four construction and engineering firms, to oversee construction of the World Trade Center PATH and transportation hub, the New York Times reported.
Negotiations are still underway, and both the Port Authority and the companies have reserved comment until the contracts are final, but the Times reported that the board resolution stated that an evaluation committee has "identified Phoenix Constructors as the highest technically qualified firm that provides the best value."
The four firms that make up the Phoenix group are Fluor Enterprises, Bovis Lend Lease, Slattery Skanska, and Granite Halmar Construction Company.
Panel Addresses Role of Culture at Ground Zero
Monday, December 12: In light of the September removal of the International Freedom Center (IFC) from the World Trade Center site plan, a panel discussion attended by more than 100 people re-addressed the question of how the arts can fit into remembering and memorializing the lives lost on 9/11. For complete coverage, click here.
EPA Cleanup to Go Ahead
Wednesday, December 14: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will move forward early next year with plans to test and clean Lower Manhattan apartments contaminated with World Trade Center dust despite criticism from residents, politicians, and members of the expert panel originally charged with shaping the program that the program is too limited, the New York Times reported.
Unlike an earlier plan that would have extended to commercial spaces and parts of Brooklyn, the current plan will be limited to Lower Manhattan apartments south of Canal Street, the Times said. Interested residents will have approximately two months to contact the EPA and volunteer to have their residences tested before the plan gets underway, the paper added.
WTC Memorial Pools Will Not Completely Fill Tower Footprints
Thursday, December 15: The dimensions of World Trade Center Memorial's symbolic voids, two pools that will be built in the footprints of the original twin towers, will be 31 percent smaller than the footprints themselves, the New York Times reported.
The discrepancy between the size of the pools and the size of the footprints, though never kept secret, was made clear last week when the Memorial Foundation issued a request for proposals for management of the memorial's construction, indicating that the pools would be 180-foot squares, the Times said. Were they to be larger, the north pool would come too close to Fulton Street, conceivably requiring that the street itself be moved, the paper added.
Some 9/11 family members have voiced objections that the smaller pools minimize the significance of their loss. While acknowledging that if impediments didn't exist it might be preferable for the pools and footprints to coincide precisely, master site planner Daniel Libeskind, maintained that the smaller pools nonetheless preserve the footprints' emotional integrity. "They are at the epicenters of where the towers stood, and much like the twin beams of light, though not exact replicas, they accurately and movingly reflect the power of absence," he told the Times.
Pataki OK's Liberty Bonds
Thursday, December 15: Gov. George Pataki announced that the state will grant $1.67 billion in Liberty Bonds to developer Larry A. Silverstein for construction of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
Ther has been considerable debate in recent weeks over Silverstein's application for a total of $3.35 billion in tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of five towers at the WTC site. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has questioned Silverstein's ability to construct all five towers in time to meet the aggressive rebuilding schedule as well as the developer's proposed fees, the Times reported. As an alternative, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has proposed splitting the site, with Silverstein building the Freedom Tower and a second building and the authority taking back the remainder of the site, the paper said.
To avoid further delay that might jeopardize the scheduled spring start of construction on the Freedom Tower, Pataki announced that the state would issue an inducement of its share of the bonds, $1.67 billion, for the tower and a second building, the Times reported. He is pressing Silverstein and the Port Authority to reach consensus about the remaining properties on the site within the next 90 days, the paper added.
LMCCC Launches Fraud Prevention Hotline
Thursday, December 15: Any information about fraud-related activities associated with construction projects in Lower Manhattan can now be reported by calling a hotline launched today by the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC). Callers can choose to remain anonymous, and their reports will be kept confidential. The number, 1-877-FRAUDLESS (877-372-8353), is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, click here.