Port Authority, St. Nicholas Church Near Deal at Ground Zero

stnicholas Port Authority, St. Nicholas Church Near Deal at Ground ZeroThe Port Authority has reached a tentative land deal with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at ground zero, removing a hurdle to the construction of a vehicle security center in the new World Trade Center, according to a Port Authority official. The deal is expected to come before the agency’s board for approval today.

A dispute over the church’s land, which sits south of Liberty Street across from ground zero, was highlighted in a Port Authority report last month as one of more than a dozen potential or impending major hurdles at the World Trade Center site.

In the agreement, the Port Authority would pay $20 million to the church, giving it a more than 8,000-square-foot site on which to build. Of that $20 million, $10 million would come from JPMorgan Chase, according to the official; but if the bank fails to build at the site (there is no binding agreement keeping JPMorgan at the site and the firm no longer plans to build an investment banking headquarters there), the Authority would still be responsible for the full amount.

The Authority needs the land in order to build an entrance to the underground vehicle security center. The church, which was destroyed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will rest atop the security center when built.