Performing Arts Center Move May Mean New World Trade Center Tower

A plan being considered by the city and state could give rise to a new tower on the World Trade Center site, as officials are pondering a move of the site’s planned Performing Arts Center to the top of the Fulton Street Transit Center nearby.

The Frank Gehry-designed Performing Arts Center-to-be has been the subject of concern in the community, given its far-off completion date (likely after the other buildings on the site are done), and the lack of identified funding sources for the project, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Fulton Street Transit Center, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority project that seeks to better connect the numerous subway lines that stop just east of the World Trade Center, has recently encountered major funding hurdles. A grand Grimshaw Architects-designed entrance to the station was determined to cost far more than the M.T.A. had available.

Now, the agency has put money in its capital budget to build a new, if perhaps less glamorous, entrance that would have “an above-ground presence that will meet the community goals, but not the oculus as designed,” according to M.T.A. spokesman Jeremy Soffin. The M.T.A. has a multibillion-dollar funding gap in its capital plan.

According to people familiar with the proposal, the plan being studied by the state and city would put the Performing Arts Center atop the M.T.A. station, and could allow for new development on the currently proposed site of the center, just east of the Freedom Tower. Such a development would likely be used to bring in funds to create the Performing Arts Center, the people said.

Some in Lower Manhattan expressed skepticism about the possible plan, saying it could add more delays, coming on top of years of stalled and slow progress downtown.

“My thought is, they promised this community a long time ago that there would be a Fulton Street Transit hub with a showpiece terminal,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a recent interview. “That’s what should get done.”

A spokesman for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Mike Murphy, said in an e-mail that it would be best to see the iconic vision for the Fulton Street Transit hub become a reality.

“LMDC has been on record saying that the best outcome would be for the M.T.A. to fully fund and build the transit center that has been promised for Lower Manhattan, and that remains our position,” he said.

Performing Arts Center Move May Mean New World Trade Center Tower