In the News: WTC Repercussions

••• The New York Times‘s Joe Nocera rips into the World Trade Center: “What’s being built in the name of 9/11—a staggering $11 billion worth of government-sponsored construction on the 16 acres we now call ground zero—is an example of just about everything wrong with modern government. […] When the World Trade Center site is finally completed, it will include a state-of-the-art train station whose cost overruns have surpassed $1 billion. The 9/11 memorial itself, which covers the footprint of the former twin towers, was so far behind schedule that it is now being hastily constructed, out of sequence, so that it will be ready by the 10th anniversary of the tragedy. And then there’s 1 World Trade Center, scheduled to be completed in 2013, which will add 2.6 million square feet of office space in a city that doesn’t need it, at a cost so high that it will be a cash drain for decades to come. Where’s the Tea Party when you need them? […] But despite the shroud of patriotism that its supporters have always cloaked it in, it’s really just a big, fancy office building. An office building with such poor economics that it will soak New Jersey and New York commuters for decades to come. An office building only the government could love. Lately, supporters of the project have begun saying that its economics have improved. They point to the fact that Condé Nast, the publishing giant, has agreed to be the anchor tenant. What they fail to point out is that Condé Nast’s rent is less than half the break-even cost of the 1 million square feet it will occupy. In other words, a company that publishes high-end magazines aimed at rich people”—but read by people with more aspirations than money—”will be getting an enormous government subsidy for the foreseeable future.” The piece has a lot more about how the little guy is getting screwed with higher tolls to pay for the WTC. (Photo by Joe Woolhead, courtesy Silverstein Properties)

••• Segue, anyone? “As the city looks past the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, community members and officials say a future performing arts center is vital to the continued rebirth of the World Trade Center site and downtown area. ‘Between now and the 10th anniversary, the focus will be on getting the memorial open and preparing for the anniversary, but as we get to this fall, everyone’s going to say, What is the next step? and How do you fully round out the site?’ said state Sen. Daniel Squadron, whose district includes lower Manhattan. […] The city remains committed to the 1,000-seat theater project anchored by The Joyce Theater dance venue and says a new board is being formed to oversee its creation. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has allocated $155 million to the project, which is estimated to cost $400 million to $500 million.” So that only leaves $345 million, if estimates end up being correct. Get out your EZ-Pass! (Wall Street Journal)

••• The salesperson at Asphalt Green BPC told me that the facility is opening Nov. 1; DNAinfo, meanwhile, heard this: “The community center is scheduled to open before the end of the year, but a spokeswoman said it was too soon to give an exact date.” Also: “All those who sign up before the facility opens will have 10 days following the opening to change their mind and get a full refund.”

••• “The last two empty parcels at Battery Park City have been developed, more than four decades after this innovative neighborhood-from-scratch, built on fill from the original World Trade Center site, was proposed.” The New York Times has more on Liberty Luxe and Liberty Green, although the point is hazy.

••• Bloomberg TV and Radio’s Tom Keene likes Silver Lining: “I can’t say enough about it. I’ll tell you why: I had a BSFwO [Beefeater Shaken Forever with Olives]. The food was just outstanding. They’re going back to the values that matter on a weekday or weekend night.” Huh? “Terrific music. I had their mini Bastille, which was chicken and fruit wrapped in pastry leaves, and the word I would use for it—it was exquisite. I could’ve had a triple order of that. And then, I had a three-cheese plate, and the bonus was they actually had extra bread that was perfect. They had no coffee because they were waiting for a machine to start for their coffee machine. Cervantes was a bartender.” Huh? “Cervantes poured me an Amaro Nonino. And then there was a jazz trio, and I had their bread pudding.” The jazz trio made bread pudding? I’m confused! Also, Keene has a colleague named Pimm Fox, which is too Tatler (or maybe Page Three?) for words. (Grub Street)

••• “This could be the last year the names of those killed on 9/11 are read out during the annual memorial ceremony. Speaking Friday morning during his weekly radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the decision to scrap the readings is currently under discussion by the 9/11 Memorial foundation.” (DNAinfo)

••• Tenant vs. board at 158 Chambers: “When an ob-gyn and his wife bought a co-op apartment in Manhattan’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood, it came with alterations that the seller had made without getting them approved by the board. OK, that’s fixable: The seller put $20,000 in escrow for repairs. And what followed is an example of how both board and shareholder hubris and inability to be flexible and reasonable snowballed into the latest ugly lawsuit over a beautiful apartment.” (Habitat)



  1. Do I have it right that Asphalt Green doesn’t list any membership rates whatsoever on its site, or am I missing something?