20-FT. Wall Holds up Tower 4Dec 16, 2008
When the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein announced last week’s arbitration decision involving World Trade Center construction, the big news was the $50 million in penalties the PA must pay Silverstein over delays in turning the sites over.
What matters more to the public, however, is the impact on Tower 4 – the first of three skyscrapers that Silverstein is to build at Ground Zero.
After all, there’s still a World Trade Center to rebuild – to some extent irrespective of the financial meltdown and a widely predicted lack of demand for new office space.
Tower 4 is the smallest of the new structures, but it’s still a massive, $1 billion-plus project with 64 floors with 1.8 million square feet of office space.
Even ardent enthusiasts of getting all the towers up as soon as possible recognize that the PA and Silverstein might have to recalibrate the time frame for sites 2 and 3.
But the Fumihiko Maki-designed Tower 4 is another story. The PA has committed to leasing one-third of its 1.8 million square feet to use as its headquarters.
Silverstein also has an option “to require” the city to lease 600,000 square feet more.
With so much going for it, New Yorkers expect to see it rising skyward by the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.
But a wall the PA put up to shore up the earth beneath the No. 1 train subway line box stands on the western side of the Tower 4 site – causing the arbitrators to say the PA did not deliver the site to Silverstein “in construction-ready condition” by a deadline earlier this year.
Sources familiar with the project say the wall “impedes the footings and foundation” on the Greenwich Street side. Until the PA can get rid of the wall, it will potentially have a serious impact on the tower’s completion date.
“The footings and foundation are basically done except for where the wall is,” said a source familiar with the project.
“If Silverstein could go full-bore, it would probably be done in 2012. If they dismantle the wall fairly soon – like next spring – they might be able to accelerate things and still make the deadline.
“But if it takes longer, who knows?”
Silverstein reps declined to comment. PA spokesman Steve Sigmund said, “There is ongoing construction on the Tower 4 foundation and the wall is not an impediment to that construction.
“The two portions of the retaining wall that need issues resolved make up about 20 to 25 feet of the approximately 200-foot wall. We are working with Silverstein on how to resolve the issues on these parts of the wall to support the foundation footings.”