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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)
 
 

Carter's View

Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber told a meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation yesterday that the city and state should leave World Trade Center Site Tower 5, now occupied by the half-demolished former Deutsche Bank Building, vacant until downtown's office market recovers over the near ten years rather than build a mixed-use development there sooner, according to an article published today by Julie Shapiro at dnainfo.com.

Mr. Lieber, who is scheduled to leave city government later this year, said that there will be demand for office space in Lower Manhattan but not for a "decade from now," the article maintained.

Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, however, strongly disagreed with Mr. Lieber, according to the article, stating that "to have another blighted plot of land, another hole in the community, makes no sense," adding that "we're sitting on this and we don't have a plan."

Ms. Menin started her exchange with Lieber by urging the LMDC and Port Authority to formally solicit new proposals for the Tower 5 site, which she hopes New York University and others will be interested in.

Mr. Lieber said that opening the door to alternate proposals for using the site for office space would be a "useless exercise" and "could even make it harder to lease the office space already under construction at the World Trade Center site." "The more we mess with this," he continued, "the more uncertainty, the more difficult it will be to get tenants to come own and occupy space," he said.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has recently said that it anticipates that the building's very controversial and exceedingly expensive demolition should be completed the end of the year. The tower was somewhat damaged in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and has been plagued by delays as has the entire ground zero redevelopment, scheme, one of the most outrageous fiascos in the history of engineering in the world and a gigantic embarrassment to the city.

Given recent increases in construction costs, a 10-year delay might make the cost of designing and building a modest tower on the site as much as building a major pyramid in Egypt, especially since New York University could use at least half of such a tower in the very near future.

A subsequently follow-up article by Ms. Shapiro By Julie Shapiro said that Port Authority executive director Chris Ward today maintained that a mixed-used skyscraper that provides residential living and shops, along with office space, should rise on the site of the Deutsche Bank building.

Mr. Ward indicated he saw no reason to wait to build Tower 5, adding that "we're going to have to be flexible and creative downtown," and "Let's keep our options open to create the best possible project."

Ward said that the tower could follow in the footsteps of the Time Warner Center, which contains offices, condos, a hotel and retail space, adding that if the authority keeps its options open, "something will happen well before 10 years."

Ms. Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1, said she had spoken to residential and hotel developers who were interested in building there, and she hoped affordable housing could be part of the future plan as well.
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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