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Cuomo invites plans for newest WTC highrise

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the request for proposals to develop World Trade Center Site 5, one of the last two remaining undeveloped World Trade Center parcels, is now open.

Located directly south of Liberty Park, the 33,000 s/f lot in the heart of the Financial District is accessible from more than a dozen subway lines and the PATH train system.

“Nearly 18 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.

 “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 site was previously home to the Deutsche Bank Building, which was extensively damaged in the World Trade Center attack.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), a subsidiary of Empire State Development, purchased the site in 2004 and completed deconstruction, abatement and excavation in 2011 – work which was funded by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant. LMDC and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are jointly issuing the Site 5 Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking a development team to lease or purchase and redevelop the site with a commercial or mixed-use project.

The RFP calls for proposals of a development up to 1.345 million zoning square feet and 900 feet in height, with a submission deadline of September 20, 2019.

The General Project Plan (GPP) governing the World Trade Center Site originally envisioned a commercial office building on the parcel. 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. Any project proposing residential use must include onsite affordable units that comply with New York City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.

Rick Cotton, Port Authority Executive Director said, “We are pleased to move forward with this much anticipated premier development opportunity in New York City.  We have taken aggressive actions during the past year to evolve this campus from construction site to a lively, energetic public space, and the development of this vacant parcel is the next step in this ongoing transformation.”

View from Greenwich Street

Daniel Ciniello, Acting President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said, “LMDC and the Port Authority have had a productive working relationship – and moving forward on the development of Site 5 is yet another major step in completing the World Trade Center site redevelopment.”

The release of the RFP culminates a year when the Port Authority saw the completion of major projects and the jumpstart of long-stalled construction work on others at the World Trade Center site.

A year ago this month, Tower 3 opened and is over 50 percent leased. Shortly after Tower 3 opened, the Port Authority opened Dey Street and Cortlandt Way to pedestrian traffic to greatly improve access to the site – the first time these streets have been opened since the original World Trade Center was built in the 1970s. Meanwhile, Tower 4 is fully leased and One World Trade Center is 83 percent leased. The Tower 2 site, which is controlled by Silverstein properties, is scheduled to become a future commercial office tower, with its construction hinging on future market demand for an anchor tenant.

Cortland Way

Construction of one of the last signature structures on the World Trade Center campus – the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center – also is underway following an agreement brokered by Governor Cuomo in 2018. The Performing Arts Center is projected to open in 2021 and will be able to seat over 1,000 people in a flexible, state-of-the-art space. The Site 5 RFP and the Performing Arts Center represent major accomplishments by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which has worked for years to revitalize Lower Manhattan and rebuild the World Trade Center campus.

During the first five months of 2019, the Port Authority continued its initiatives to transform the site into a dynamic space.

The agency joined with Westfield in January to bring the Greenmarket, which operated outdoors on the Oculus Plaza for the past two years, inside the Oculus for the winter months every Tuesday.

In February, the Port Authority and Westfield partnered on the first ever Lunar New Year celebration on the World Trade Center campus, including a performance by the 60-piece Asian Cultural Center Symphony and a Lunar New Year Lion Dance to celebrate the Year of the Pig.

And in April, Smorgasburg – the largest outdoor weekly food market in the United States – began a weekly activation every Friday at the site through October 25. This summer, numerous initiatives are planned, including  movie nights in Liberty Park, Pride Month displays and viewing parties for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

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