Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, was never a huge fan of the Freedom Tower—never a huge fan of office space downtown in the first place. But in an interview with us today he went even farther, nudging along the gathering bandwagon of what Reps. Ney and Jones might call “Freedom’s foes”:
“I think people close to the situation understand that the Freedom Tower is the least marketable commercial space down there to the extent there is any demand for commercial space at all…. It certainly should be rethought. There are really questions about its marketability. Certainly the phasing should be rethought. [Towers] Two through Four ought to be built first. The Freedom Tower should be built not until the market is established for office space….
“It’s my understanding that as part of the construction of the PATH terminal, the Port Authority should be in the position to move ahead with the retail space and to expedite the excavation of the bathtubs for Tower Two and that is what they should be doing.”
UPDATE: Jeremy Soffin, vice president of public affairs at R.P.A., called to take issue with the above characterization of Robert Yaro as “no fan of office space downtown in the first place.” We readily agree that Yaro has advocated mixed uses, rather than an exclusively residential or retail district. We had been referring to his recent endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal, which would cut the planned 10 million square feet of offices by 14 percent to make way for apartments and a hotel.