Both the PA and Silverstein Properties are now working through the details
One World Trade Center (WTC) is now rising above the 24th level, with concrete being poured daily to set each expansive floorplate. Across the site, 4 WTC steel columns are up to floor six, while the 80-foot-tall entrance lobby has taken shape along Church Street. These are the two skyscrapers, along with the eight-acre Memorial quadrant, that showcase the tremendous progress that’s been made at the WTC over the past year.
The two organizations building these mega structures sat side by side on April 12th to present updates to Community Board 1. Christopher Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, spoke first, stating that 1 WTC construction is gaining momentum.
“We are at the standard floor, punching out one standard floor after another, which will give us progress in the coming year…and we hope to pick up the pace and build faster,” said Ward. “That is what New Yorkers will talk most about.”
Ward added that his agency is on track to complete and open the National 9/11 Memorial by the 10th anniversary of September 11th, and that WTC Transportation Hub excavation is done. The relocation of a massive crane from 1 WTC to the Hub site last weekend also marks a major step in the erection of Santiago Calatrava’s visionary transit hall, where steel installation will soon begin.
Janno Lieber, Silverstein Properties’s (SPI) president of WTC development, shared his company’s updates with the board as well, stating, “We are going full steam ahead on Tower 4, and we are a lot further along than what is really understood.” He noted that nearly 600,000 square feet of substructure is already complete, eventually housing building mechanicals as well as several retail floors.
“We are on the cusp of creating the greatest mixed-use urban model that may exist in the United States,” said Lieber. “It is a one-of-a-kind community where first-class, green, high-tech office space lives alongside a great residential community, and they really feed each other. This is what we wanted to create. Obviously there were an enormous number of constraints, and that is what it took a long time to work through. But we think we’ve achieved the critical mass necessary to realize that vision.”
The two companies are now working through the details that follow the arbitration decision, issued last month. Those details are part of the “development framework that ends uncertainty on the east side of the site,” said Ward. He explained that its most important component is restoring infrastructure, including the restoration of the street grid through the site, while “the office development phases in over time rationally.”
Under the framework, Tower 4 will be completed partly with Port Authority financing. However, Tower 3 will be built only if SPI contributes $300 million and pre-leases 400,000 square feet of commercial real estate. At the site of Tower 2, substructure will be built to prepare for building erection, but actual superstructure work is indefinitely on hold pending commercial demand. Retail in that base structure will be built out.
Another major achievement of the framework is that the two developers are committed to a joint construction timeline that itemizes tasks and milestones, with an eye on completing projects “step-by-step” as planned.
“Our organizations have committed to a construction partnership to work together through complexities,” said Lieber. “Chris and I are sitting together to not only comment but to co-manage this joint schedule.”
Final details for the development framework are due by July 25th, the official end of the 120-day period arbitrators set to finalize negotiations. In the meantime, both the Port Authority and SPI continue building their respective projects.