Cuomo releases RFP for 5 World Trade Center, may include 900-foot tower and affordable housing

Posted On Wed, June 26, 2019 By

Posted On Wed, June 26, 2019 By In affordable housing, Financial District, New Developments

Image via flickr cc

Earlier this month, the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation arrived at a deal to release a request for proposals for the development of 5 World Trade Center, Crain’s reported. The two state agencies had been locked in negotiations over how to develop the last site, which lies at the World Trade Center‘s southernmost end, surrounded by Washington, Albany and Greenwich streets, for years; as a result, the site has remained in limbo. Today, Governor Cuomo officially released a Request for Proposals for the site, which allows for either commercial or mixed-use proposals for a roughly 900-foot-tall building. Any proposals putting forth a residential component must include “onsite affordable units that comply with New York City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program,” according to a press release.

The 33,000-square-foot site was formerly home to the Deutsche Bank Building, which was severely damaged during the September 11th attacks. LMDC bought the site in 2004 and completed deconstruction of the building in 2011. The Port Authority and LMDC had agreed that the site would be transferred to the Port’s control as compensation for a World Trade Center parcel that the Port had transferred to the other agency for a performing arts center, now under construction. But the two agencies argued for years over how the site should be developed. Port Authority brass were insistent that the million+ square feet of developable space be done commercially, but former LMDC president David Emil had argued that at least some residential space would bring more value–and the Port Authority is not allowed to hold residential assets.

Holly Leicht, who chairs the LMDC’s board and is a real estate executive at the Empire State Development Corp. said in a board meeting in March, “After quite a lengthy period of time of negotiation, we executed a memorandum of understanding with the Port, the LMDC and the city to move forward on an RFP for Site 5, which will be our last major site to develop. The reason for the appraisal now is because there’s a base value the Port wants to get for the land.”

Though original plans called for a commercial building, “reflecting a recent influx of office space into the neighborhood and the need for housing in the community, the RFP entertains both commercial and mixed-use proposals – with the possibility of modifying the GPP if needed,” explains the press release. And as previously mentioned, all proposals with a residential component must include affordable housing.

Under the World Trade Center’s General Project Plan (GPP), the site was originally envisioned as a commercial tower, as it is currently zoned by the city, but the GPP will be amended and therefore supersedes the zoning rules. For a residential or mixed-use proposal, the requirements state that the building must be capped at 900 feet and may not exceed 1.345 million square feet. Of that square footage, no more than 1.1 million can be developed as residential; the remainder may be commercial, community facilities, and/or retail.

“Nearly eighteen years ago, New Yorkers vowed to rebuild Lower Manhattan stronger than ever, and with the request for proposals now open for World Trade Center Site 5, we are continuing to make good on that promise,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “This project will create jobs, spur economic growth and bring us one step closer to completing Downtown’s rebirth, reflecting New York’s courage and determination in the face of this tragedy.”

The proposals are due by September 20th. You can read the full RFP here >>

* The original version of this story, “Deal finally reached on sale of last World Trade Center site,” was published on June 3, 2019.

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