It’s been almost 13 years since Frank Gehry initially designed the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center (PACWTC). After his plans got shelved in late 2014 due to fundraising issues and construction delays on the transit hub below, it seemed like the last vacant site at the complex would forever remain that way. That is until this past fall when a $75 million gift from billionaire businessman and philanthropist Ronald O. Perelman brought the $243 million project back to life and made it possible to proceed with new designs. Despite this new optimism, it looks like the Center will be delayed yet again, as Crain’s reports that unresolved issues between the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority are setting things behind schedule, which could cost the project $100 million in federal funds.
Image by Grant Wickens via flick CC
As far back as 2015, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority was considering fees for vehicles pulling up curbside to drop off or pick up passengers at New York City’s airports as a way to reduce the congestion that has worsened since services like Uber and Lyft have arrived. The city’s airports are among the only ones in the U.S. that don’t charge curbside access fees. Now the Daily News has obtained a Port Authority draft proposal outlining the proposed fees. Taxi and hired car passengers could be hit with a $4 charge for each trip in and out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports as early as next year. The fee would be charged to the car operators and would presumably be passed to passengers
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners yesterday approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan–the agency’s largest ever. The major allocations include: $3.5 billion to begin the planning and construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal; $10 billion towards improving trans-Hudson commuting, including a $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement, completion of the $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuilding, and a $2 billion rehab of the George Washington Bridge; $11.6 billion in major airport upgrades, which factors in $4 billion for the new LaGuardia Terminal B, a plan to extend the PATH train from Newark Penn Station to the Newark Airport, and the beginning of Cuomo’s JFK overhaul; and $2.7 billion towards the Gateway rail tunnel project.
Yesterday, 6sqft revealed Governor Cuomo’s plan to give JFK Airport a long overdue overhaul, an endeavor that would cost nearly $10 billion, funded just over two-thirds in part by the private sector with another $2 billion provided by the government. Given that most of New York and New Jersey’s regional transportation infrastructure (including bridges, tunnels and airports) falls within the joint jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey will as a result receive similar funding for a project of their own—and that’s a problem according to The Record reporter Paul Berger. Yesterday, Berger published a confidential document obtained from the Port Authority that details how $30 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next 10 years. While the purpose of the Port Authority is to divvy up cash across the region based on need, as Berger writes, the document simply shows how “interstate jealousies over funding” have led to a “quid pro quo capital plan” that completely bucks this objective.
Just two months ago, West Side elected officials and the Port Authority agreed to move ahead on the 10-year, $10 billion capital project to replace the current Bus Terminal, releasing five design proposals for a new building. But officials at the bi-state agency “have reached an impasse” on the project due to budget concerns and disagreements on the design, reports Crain’s.
On Tuesday, an agreement was reached between West Side elected officials and the Port Authority that said the agency would expand the planning process for a new $10 billion bus terminal with more local input. And just today they’ve revealed the five proposals that were submitted to a design competition to replace the currently loathed site. Crain’s brings us videos of the ideas, which come from big-name firms Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Arcadis, AECOM in partnership with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Perkins Eastman, and Archilier Architecture Consortium. Though this seems counter to the agreement, John Degnan, the Port Authority’s New Jersey-appointed chairman, said he doubts “any one of them will be the final design,” since they either further complicate existing planning issues or cost billions over budget.
Last week, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority would sell One World Trade Center for up to $5 billion due in part to vacancy issues and the fact that the tower only brought in $13 million in revenue last year, a mere 0.35 percent return on the agency’s investment. But Authority chairman John Degnan said yesterday to Politico that “It’s certainly not on the block. We’re not talking to any brokers about it.” This doesn’t however, mean that the agency has changed its stance that it will one day “divest and monetize in non-transportation-related holdings.”
It’s been almost two years since Condé Nast’s 3,400 employees moved into One World Trade Center. At the time, only 58 percent of its 3 million square feet of space was leased, but the hope was that the media company’s presence and perceived confidence in the $3.8 billion tower would attract more tenants. This didn’t quite pan out, as it’s still one third empty, and the Port Authority continues to drop $3 million a month to cover Condé Nast’s old lease (this amounted to $47.6 million in 2015 alone).
Due to these issues, along with the fact that the tower only brought in $13 million in revenue last year– a mere 0.35 percent return on its investment–the cash-strapped Port Authority has made plans to sell One World Trade Center for as much as $5 billion. As Crain’s notes, this would be the highest price ever paid for an office building in the country.
Though the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would like you to think it’s been smooth sailing finding tenants for One World Trade Center, their spending habits say otherwise. As Crain’s reported, more than a year after Condé Nast made the big move from 4 Times Square to One World Trade, the agency is still dropping $3 million a month to pay for the old lease. This deal came about in 2011 when the Port Authority offered the incentive to entice the media company to relocate amid floundering activity at the downtown tower. In 2015 alone, they spent $47.6 million, and the payments are expected to continue into 2019 (when the lease ends) unless building owner the Durst Organization can find a new tenant.
Santiago Calatrava: WTC Transportation Hub , New York (Photo: Mega Projects and Skyscrapers, via YouTube)
On Tuesday, news broke that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would not be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony when the World Trade Center Transportation Hub opens next week. They called Santiago Calatrava’s project “a symbol of excess.” Perhaps feeling the backlash from their decision, the agency sent out a press release yesterday saying that though there will still be no event to mark the opening on March 3rd at 3pm, they will hold a ceremony once the Hub is fully up and running this spring, according to the Wall Street Journal. They credit their change of heart to a desire to thank the thousands of workers who built the station. Additionally, Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said, “It will stand, along with the memorial, museum and the buildings themselves, as a tribute the resiliency of the region.”