Posts tagged with "Port Authority":

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Photo of the Day: World Trade Center Spire Adrift at Sea

The spire that will one day reach a point 1,776 feet above Lower Manhattan on the ever-progressing World Trade Center is en route to New York via a barge from Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey put out a statement that the giant antenna embarked on its 1,500-nautical-mile journey on November 16 and is expected to arrive at Port Newark any day now, but a tracking website doesn't appear to be working. Smaller pieces will be trucked in over the next month. Each segment of the spire weighs from five to 67 tons. Once the spire is on site, construction is expected to take about three months to complete.
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Detroit Riverfront Design Competition Nets Libeskind as Judge

Starchitect Daniel Libeskind will help judge this year’s Detroit by Design competition to design public spaces along the Detroit River. AIA’s Detroit Chapter is a sponsor of the competition, which will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center, and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. The site includes an entrance to the tunnel to Canada, the Port Authority Building, and Hart Plaza—a 14-acre space at the heart of downtown. Submissions are open through November 30. If Libeskind and the other jurors like your design, you could win $5,000 and a trip to the Motor City.
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New Renderings Take A Fresh Look at One World Trade Center

The Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey released a handful of new interior and exterior renderings of a value-engineered version of original designs for One World Trade. Clearly the long-term maintenance argument won out over David Childs' proposal for a sculpture-clad spire instead of a simple antenna. The resulting design seems far more efficient, if not aesthetically complete. Noticeably absent is Silverstein's yet-to-be-leased towers Two and Three, which won't rise until an anchor tenant is found. But neither collapsed cranes or a fire this morning will slow the tower from its relentless climb.
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Retail Reality at WTC

Westfield will partner with the Port to lease the podium of Tower Three. (Coutesy Silverstien) The Westfield Group made it official yesterday: They will be curating the 450,000 square feet of retail space at the World Trade Center, the New York Post reported. The group made a $93 million payment to the Port Authority toward the $612.5 million deal that will bring retail to the podia of Towers Four and Three, the transportation hub, and along Church & Dey streets. If all goes as planned, an additional 90,000 square feet will be added in Tower Two as well, but first an anchor tenant for Tower Three seems to be the most pressing bit of unmet business.
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Childs vs. Durst: WTC’s Stripped Spire Stokes Controversy

The Durst Organization and the Port Authority have decided to abandon designs for what they once assured the public would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and architect David Childs of SOM is fighting back. By stripping away the sculptural finishes designed by SOM with artist Kenneth Snelson the developers and the Port may no longer qualify for the tallest title bestowed by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the body that tallies and ranks building heights. In today's New York Times a spokesperson for the Council said that the galvanzized steel replacement would probably be interpreted as an antenna and not a spire and would not qualify as part of the building structure. Besides losing the title, the developers will also arguably be pulling one of the most significant works of art from the site. Douglas Durst told The Wall Street Journal that the spire should have been designed better as it will cost too much to maintain. "It's not the end of the world," he told the paper. To the Times he indicated the utilitarian replacement should work just fine: “I try not to get involved with the aesthetics. We’re here to discuss how it’s built and how it’s maintained.”
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Port Authority Confessional: Audit Reveals Dysfunction

The long-expected audit of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is available, and—apart from the opaque bureaucratese—it reads just like the dysfunctional family memoir you might expect. In fact, the word dysfunctional is at the top of the summary letter sent to Governors Chris Christie of NJ and Andrew Cuomo of NY. To wit, the Navigant Consulting assessment concluded that the PA is “a challenged and dysfunctional organization suffering from lack of consistent leadership, a siloed underlying bureaucracy, poorly coordinated capital planning processes, insufficient cost controls, and a lack of transparent and effective oversight of the World Trade Center program.” Some highlights: The WTC balloon effect with estimated construction costs launched at approximately $8 billion in 2006 rising to $11 billion in November 2011 (blamed largely on getting ready for the tenth anniversary) and now floating past $14.8 billion—the $3 billion increase of recent months due to “changes in scope and the evolution of design” including foundation site work for the Performing Arts Center to the tune of $200 million, even though the new board claimed at the New year that a site has not yet be decided. The PA “may elect to curtail development” of elements that owe them money, meaning the 9/11 Memorial. When the memorial was to cost $500 million the port was in for $195 million; now that it may top a billion, the PA is not so sure it wants to pony up $300 million. As a result, “The Port Authority has elected to significantly reduce the construction personnel deployed on the museum portion of the Memorial project and limit the agency’s exposure, ensuring that only certain construction continues prior to the resolution of the cost reimbursement dispute.” Further, the PA wants to buffer its exposure by “value engineering all possible aspects of the World Trade Center project.” But there is no specific mention of further cutting off the wings at Calatrava’s teradactyl transportation hub. To further deal with an anticipated debt by the end of 2012 to the tune of $20.8 billion, the PA is turning to employees to start paying for their own healthcare, cut back on overtime and take less vacation time. Quote the drag for police sergeants with a base salary of $103,964 and an overtime add-on of $132, 286.
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Slideshow> WTC Update: Compare and Contrast, Then and Now

It's been one year since we began walking the circumference of the World Trade Center site and taking photos of the progress. A lot can happen in a year. The city and state are in a tussle over the Memorial Museum  bringing construction there to a halt.  Larry Silverstein has threatened to cap Tower Three at at seven stories instead of 80 if he doesn't get a lead tenant by the end of the year.  Pat Foye, the new head of the Port Authority has called the PA's Trade Center focus a "mission drift" and ordered a special committee to audit the years overseen by his predecessor, Chris Ward.  And now The New York Post reports that the underground loading dock for One World Trade won't be completed by the time the first tenants move in. News from the last couple of months has been so bad that we thought we'd sift through some of our old photos to focus on the work that was completed over the past year.  And while One World Trade continues its march upward (it's nearing the 1,776 feet), other projects on or near the site are almost complete or are on schedule to be finished in the next couple of years. Brookfield's renovations of the World Financial Center have begun. Work at Fulton Street Transit Station by Grimshaw continues to chug forward. CUNY's Fiterman Hall by Pei Cobb Freed was recently capped.  And a new visitors center for the memorial opened on West Street.
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Port Authority Threatens to Sue 9/11 Museum for $300 Million

In the days immediately following the show of solidarity on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Port Authority and Governor Cuomo retreated to one corner and Mayor Bloomberg and the Sept 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation to another over accusations of $300 million in cost overruns that neither party has agreed to pay. Construction of the museum has ground to a halt decreasing the likelihood that the Museum will open next year as promised. On December 15, the Governor told Albany radio host Fred Dicker that the Port Authority was “on the verge” of suing the Foundation. The PA charged that the Foundation has not provided $156 million for infrastructure costs and has subsequently not reimbursed the Authority for awarded contracts since immediately after the anniversary. On the radio show, Cuomo said $300 million was owed to the PA, an amount said to include newly revised project costs as well as money already spent on infrastructure. In a statement, Michael Frazier, the foundation’s spokesperson, said, “The 9/ll Memorial has met every funding commitment. There is no validity to the Port Authority’s claim; in fact, as recently as yesterday this claim was half of this amount. The Memorial has a counterclaim against the Port totaling more than $140 million. The Mayor clarified all of this today.” In a rebuttal made at a news conference on Friday at a Bronx elementary school, Mayor Bloomberg said, “We don’t owe anything.” While noting that the city is working with PA to resolve the issue, he added, “It’s hard to see us getting to a courtroom, but if it has to go there, it has to go there.” A source familiar with the situation said that there is a $300-500 million bill lurking and unaccounted for, but that it has to do with site-wide security costs. At issue as well is the dedicated task force assembled by former PA head Chris Ward to cut through previous disagreements, which may have been disbanded when the new director Patrick Foye took over. Whether the city or the Port Authority is responsible for escalating security costs seems unclear. With a virtual halt in construction, Frazier said in a phone call that the timely completion of the Museum is endangered. “The Museum was next in line to be completed before Towers Four and even One. What’s really at stake now are all the items and donations by family members and others that were entrusted to us to preserve but are now in storage and in jeopardy.”
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Quick Clicks> Glass, Steel, Foam, Reel

Glass wear. Alistair Gordon visits the entrancingly translucent Maison de Verre in Paris, Pierre Chareau's 1928 house of glass blocks, and speaks with current owner Robert M. Rubin about his ongoing restoration of the early modernist icon. Here's a preview of Gordon's feature that will appear in the next WSJ Magazine. Steely resolve. The Calatrava-designed PATH hub for the World Trade Center is now over budget to the tune of $180 million, reports DNA. The stratospheric overrun is due in large part to the decision to use extra steel to "harden" the building for security reasons. The Port Authority Board passed the revised budget on Thursday morning, promising to bankroll the extra costs with a contingency fund. Featuring...foamcore! San Francisco's Museum of Craft commandeers a space near the Moscone Center for a pop-up installation that presents architectural model-making as a form of craft. The show offers a glimpse into the process of 20 notable SF-area architecture firms, writes the San Francisco Chronicle. Awards go immaterial. Producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer talk to the Hollywood Reporter about the set design for this year's Oscars (airing this Sunday), revealing that they'll rely on projections to create a constantly changing, animated environment within the Kodak Theater. Architect David Rockwell, who designed the sets in 2009 and 2010 (and snagged an Emmy in the process), this year passed the torch to production designer Steve Bass.
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Not a Bridge too Fair

Ever since the tragic collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, politicians and public authorities nationwide have been scrambling to get theirs up to code. New bridges, or at least proposals for them, abound, some nice, some not so much. Fortunately, the Port Authority appears committed to a high-design bridge. The authority released a request for information [PDF] this week, a precursor to an RFQ. The Observer picked up on the PA's interest in building the thing with a public-private partnership, an approach with a mix of benefits—no upfront costs—and risks—less control or long-term revenue. But what is promising, nonetheless, is the PA's commitment to constructing what could be called a statement bridge. It's a pretty strong commitment, especially for an agency with an uneven track record—consider the World Trade Center, JFK, and the loathsome bus terminal. The design requirements, along with these handy renderings, are put thusly in the RFI:
The appearance of the structure is of great importance to the Authority, and the illustrative design has been subject to considerable attention as regards visually significant elements such as pier shape and cable layout. However, the “illustrative design” has been presented at public meetings with the proviso that it may be subject to amendment. The Authority is developing aesthetic requirements to clearly define unacceptable solutions (e.g. “smokestack” pylon design) and help Proposers determine the range of design solutions that may be acceptable. Aesthetic guidelines will cover overall form and function and matters such as edge detailing and finishes that are not yet reflected in the Authority’s “illustrative design. The Authority expects to assign some weight to a DBFM [design, build, finance and maintain] Company’s “visual management plan” which would provide detailed commitments on how aesthetic quality would be taken into account in the detailed design.
While we're still trying to figure out what a "smokestack pylon" is, that there are unacceptable designs is at the very least a promising sign, as there will be no race to the bottom, an especially risky proposition with public projects. The prioritization of pedestrian and bicycle access as well as room for a future transit component running down the middle is a nice touch. Granted, such design guidelines are probably a necessity given that the PA will be giving up some control over the project as a result of its undertaking a public-private partnership. Still, given that this may be the new normal, at least for the time being, as the PA continues to commit more money and time at Ground Zero, it's good to see the agency taking a smart, aesthetically driven approach, one that will hopefully persist on sister projects.
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The Public-Private Pit

The most recent deal to get the final pieces of the World Trade Center site off the ground was supposed to be, or so the players involved made it seem, the final one. No more handouts, no more delays. But as our colleague Eliot Brown over at the Observer points out, this is far from the first deal that has been brokered between the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties. It is in fact the fourth, and it quite possibly has brought the public's total investment in the private portion of the site—to say nothing of such public expenditures as the $3.2 billion (formerly $2 billion) PATH station—to possibly $2 billion. "While the ultimate public tab may never come to be that high, what is clear is that the amount of public assistance for what is now to be two private World Trade Center towers with 4 million square feet is exceptional, and far more than ever advertised or anticipated when the rebuilding plan was sold to the public," Brown writes.This quickly turns into a lose-lose situation:
One development plan is sold to the public with promises of a certain subsidy level and an expected long-term gain from rent. But conditions change, costs increase, the market worsens, and once it seems too late to turn around and scrap a deal, a developer needs more aid, and the public sector is in a tough place to refuse.[...]The site, of course, is laden with emotion and politics, and the desire to rebuild after a terrorist attack sets the site in a different category than the traditional public-private partnership. But in layering on the assistance at various different points over the past nine years, what is clear from the latest deal is that the total amount of public assistance is extraordinary and tremendous, and one wonders if the current plan would ever have gone forward had the public known its full contribution from the start.
It's a pretty sad reality for what was supposed to be a grand gesture in the face of tragedy. But pulling back from all that good will and high hopes, with the comfort of hindsight, it becomes clear this was just another development deal in New York City, possibly the granddaddy of them all. Look no further than Atlantic Yards or Columbia or, hell, the original World Trade Center itself to be reminded that this is just the way business gets done in this town. Which only begs the question, "How long until the next bailout?" Say, maybe, once the now indefinitely delayed Foster tower gets going again?
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9/11 Memorial Pools Almost Framed

Today, the Port Authority and National September 11 Memorial & Museum announced the near completion of steel framing for the design's memorial pools. 99.8 percent of the project's 8,151 tons of steel has been installed to date. For what it's worth, when completed the Memorial will boast more steel than was used in the construction of the Eiffel Tower. In the coming months, workers will begin the installation of the granite panels that line the walls of the pools, which will be the largest manmade waterfalls in the country when finished, pumping 52,000 gallons of recycled water per minute. A mockup of the waterfalls was built in Brooklyn in January. Follow this link to see an AP video of memorial designer Michael Arad discussing the motivations behind the project.