Plan for 900-foot tower with 1,325 rentals at 5 World Trade Center moves forward

February 12, 2021

Plans to build a 900-foot mixed-use tower with 1,325 units of housing at 5 World Trade Center are moving forward. The boards of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation voted on Thursday to approve the recommendation of the selection committee for the proposal from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties, Omni New York, and Dabar Development Partners. The site is the former location of the Deutsche Bank building which was damaged in the September 11 terrorist attacks and later demolished. The developer will now enter negotiations for a lease for the residential tower, expected to measure 1.56 million gross square feet.

Courtesy of LMDC

The proposal includes a 900-foot tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox that would contain 1,325 rental apartments, of which 330 would be permanently affordable.

According to the proposal, the affordable units would be designated for households earning at or below 50 percent of the area median income, which is $51,200 annually for a family of three. The building would contain the highest number of affordable units in a single building in Lower Manhattan.

The project also calls for 190,000 square feet of office space, 12,000 square feet of community space, 55,000 square feet of public amenity space, and 7,000 square feet of retail.

Courtesy of LMDC

“The Port Authority’s dedication to rebuilding the World Trade Center has helped restore Lower Manhattan and brought life back to the campus following the September 11th attacks,” Kevin O’Toole, Port Authority chair, said in a press release. “Today’s Board action to choose the development team for 5 WTC is the realization of a nearly two-decade long commitment to that work.”

The plan could generate thousands of new jobs and $1.9 billion in economic output, which officials argue could help contribute to the city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This project is more than an exciting new addition to the neighborhood. It’s a powerful symbol of this city’s resilience and an important step toward delivering a recovery for all of us,” Vicki Been, the city’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, said. “This public-private partnership is a significant investment in Lower Manhattan’s future. It will create thousands of jobs and deliver hundreds of permanently affordable homes to an area that lacks enough affordable options.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with the Port Authority and LMDC, in June 2019 announced a request for proposals seeking a team to buy and redevelop Five World Trade Center as a mixed-use project. According to the selection committee, five proposals were received and then reviewed by the committee.

Since the general project plan (GPP) for the World Trade Center site originally allowed for commercial, not residential, use, the GPP will require modification. Modification to the GPP requires public review and environmental review that could take up to a year. According to the Port Authority, construction could begin in 2023.

Some advocates say the project should include even more affordable housing, which was part of early discussions surrounding the area’s redevelopment. Todd Fine, the president of the Washington Street Advocacy Group, said the approval “represents a betrayal of the core principles proposed at the start of the post-September 11 reconstruction.”

“Initially, September 11 was described universally as ‘an attack on all New Yorkers,’ and in the dozens of public listening sessions in 2002-3, New Yorkers frequently urged that if the World Trade Center reconstruction included housing, it should be affordable and low-income housing,” Fine said in a statement to 6sqft.

“Promises on these lines made by these agencies regarding public land were not kept. If instead, a completely affordable building were erected here, at this time of massive need, it would send a powerful message to the city, the country, and the world.”

Five World Trade Center will serve as the final piece of the World Trade Center complex, which consists of completed One, Three, Four, and Seven World Trade Center, with Two World Trade Center yet to start construction. After a COVID-19 related pause, construction also resumed on the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center and started on the new St. Nicholas National Shrine.


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