Memorial: “Bad News Is Never Easy”

The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation came out with a press release formally acknowledging the new, higher estimates for Michael Arad’s design, as reported this morning, and breaking out the $300 million infrastructure separately. In fact, the release never mentions the figure $300 million:

[T]he Foundation and by extension, its private donors, should not have to pay for site-wide infrastructure costs which include structural systems, mechanical fit out of the central chiller plant, and a police and emergency operations center.

Full release after jump.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, May 5, 2006

STATEMENT FROM WORLD TRADE CENTER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

“The Foundation, which is made up of a group of dedicated volunteers from the private sector, was asked to raise the money as well as build and operate the Memorial and Museum. Any project of this magnitude and importance should be closely scrutinized for its financial feasibility. The Foundation did its due diligence by enlisting the support of construction experts including Peter Lehrer, Dan Tishman, Bill Goldstein and our construction manager, Bovis Lend Lease, to responsibly define the real costs of the project. Bad news is never easy to hear, but it’s essential to confront the fiscal realities head on.

“According to analysis by Bovis Lend Lease — one of the largest construction firms in the world — the current estimate to build the Memorial and Museum is $672 million. However, this figure does not include the site-wide infrastructure and specific capital project costs which add additional millions to the total sum of the project.

“The major drivers of the cost differential between this current estimate and a prior estimate of $490 million are three fold: further development of design drawings that better reflect the complexity of the project, a rapid rise in construction escalation and additions to the scope of the project.

“With respect to the infrastructure costs, the Foundation and by extension, its private donors, should not have to pay for site-wide infrastructure costs which include structural systems, mechanical fit out of the central chiller plant, and a police and emergency operations center.

“These issues need to be dealt with in a responsible way. This project is too important to undertake without clarity and confidence. We owe it to the memory of those who died to ensure that the Memorial and Museum can be constructed and properly funded.”

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