Photo courtesy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Last December, construction on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center stopped due to lack of funding. The Archdiocese has remained committed to finishing the construction of the church, which was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks. Recently, the Port Authority — who owns the land on which the church is sited at Liberty Street — said that it wants to help the church with its rebuilding efforts, as the New York Post first reported.
“The Port Authority could facilitate construction based on appropriate commitments or could assemble a group to take over construction. We could also assist with redesign of the project to make it financially feasible,” Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton wrote in a letter to the leaders of the church. “If completion is not possible, we would assist in any way possible to find an alternative configuration to complete the project.”
Before September 11, St. Nicholas Shrine was located at 155 Cedar Street. Debris from the second WTC tower fell on top of it and destroyed the four-story tower structure. In 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leased the church the site of Liberty Park for $1 a year for 198 years.
The new design by Santiago Calatrava, the same architect who designed the Oculus at the WTC transit hub, is a Byzantine-inspired structure that topped out last November with a 6-foot-3-inch Justinian cross. When its 50-foot dome was completed in 2016, the construction costs began skyrocketing, increasing to an estimated $78 million from a 2013 estimate of $20 million.
Since learning of the deficit last year, the archdiocese cut 25 percent of its staff and 25 percent of its expenses, hired a new treasurer and a chief financial officer, and launched an audit led by PricewaterhouseCoopers and BakerHostetler LLP, as 6sqft previously reported. According to The Post, the church has determined it will need an additional $38 million to finish the shrine.
A Port Authority spokesman said that the agency is ready to provide support but as of right now, “the construction and financial obligations for completing the project continue to rest solely with the church.”
In a response to the Port Authority, Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox church in the US, emphasized that “the project is on the right course and that construction will resume in the not too distant future.”
[Via New York Post]
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