The Port Authority to the Rescue

Builder Frank Sciame is recommending that the Port Authority take responsibility for building the World Trade Center Memorial, which would shave off about $80 million through efficiencies by putting $5 billion in construction in the hands of one agency.

So where’s the downside?

“The Port Authority is notoriously expensive,” an individual who has worked on Ground Zero issues told The Real Estate.

If the bi-state agency is willing to guarantee the cost of the memorial at $510 million, plus another $100 million or so for infrastructure, there’s no problem, our source said, and donors will feel comfortable giving money to a very large bureaucracy known for moving airplanes instead of hearts. But then again, such a guarantee just shifts the risks for construction inflation, cost overruns and who-knows-what from one quasi-private agency (the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation) to a quasi-public one (the Port Authority).

Despite the jubilant tones struck by the Mayor and Governor today, this thing still has some serious wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Like set the dial to “linen” and “high steam.”

-Matthew Schuerman