As expected, the Port Authority last week approved the land deal with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church to allow the Port to use the church’s Ground Zero land and build a vehicle security center below.
The bi-state agency agreed to give the church $20 million ($10 million is supposed to come from JPMorgan Chase for its planned adjacent building, though we’ll see if that tower ever happens), along with up to $40 million for infrastructure. The church will get a significantly larger lot than it had prior to September 11, 2001, at 8,100 square feet.
PORT AUTHORITY AND St. NICHOLAS CHURCH REACH AGREEMENT
ON REBUILDING CHURCH AT WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE
Agreement Allows WTC Vehicle Security Center to Move Forward
The Port Authority and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church have reached an agreement that will allow the 92-year-old church to be rebuilt near its former location at the World Trade Center site. The agreement also resolves a key issue – one of the 15 fundamental issues identified in last month’s Port Authority World Trade Center Assessment — that will allow construction to proceed on the Vehicle Security Center – a vital artery that will serve nearly every facility on the site and is a key driver of schedules and costs of the other projects.
At its monthly meeting today, the bistate agency’s Board of Commissioners authorized an agreement between the Port Authority, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the City of New York and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that will move the site of the Greek Church to allow for access and construction needed for the construction of the Vehicle Security Center.
Under the agreement, St. Nicholas Church agreed to convey property at 155 Cedar Street – where the church was located before it was destroyed on 9/11 – to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. LMDC, in turn, will transfer the parcel at 130 Liberty Street to the church for its new building. LMDC will then transfer property at 155 Cedar Street, 140 Liberty Street and a portion of 130 Liberty Street to the Port Authority for construction of the South Bathtub, which will house the Vehicle Security Center.
St. Nicholas will receive up to $20 million in direct costs for the rebuilt church, including $10 million from the Port Authority to mitigate the impact on the cost of building the church over the Vehicle Security Center, and $10 million from a third party as part of a future development agreement for the Tower 5 site. The Port Authority will provide an additional $20 million, up to a maximum of $40 million, to build the infrastructure needed to support the church on top of the Vehicle Security Center.
As a result of this agreement, the Board approved an $88.6 million contract with the joint venture of E.E. Cruz & Co. and Nicholson, LLC for construction of the walls of the South Bathtub south of the existing World Trade Center site, which will be used ultimately to house the vehicle screening facility and parking for approximately 28 tour buses. The new South Bathtub will be bounded by Liberty, Greenwich, Cedar and West streets.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "This agreement with the Greek Church brings to a successful close months of negotiations on an issue that, left unresolved, would have affected the successful construction progress we’ve made in the past two years and the future work we need to do at the World Trade Center site. It represents the Port Authority’s firm resolve to do what is necessary to advance the rebuilding process as quickly as possible."
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, "Resolving this lynchpin issue in a matter of weeks is a concrete example of the new way of doing business at the World Trade Center site. Much more remains to be done, but this agreement represents an important step forward."
The St. Nicholas Church land rights claim was one of 15 key issues outlined in the World Trade Center Assessment report, which was commissioned by New York Governor David A. Paterson and released publicly on June 30.