THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY TO BUILD WORLD TRADE CENTER MEMORIAL; AUTHORIZES LEASE FOR FREEDOM TOWER OFFICE SPACE

Date: Dec 14, 2006
Press Release Number: 108-2006

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today took two actions to advance the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. The Board finalized plans for the agency to build the World Trade Center Memorial, and it authorized a lease agreement with the New York State Office of General Services for more than 400,000 square feet of office space in the Freedom Tower.

Under the first action, the Port Authority finalized plans it announced in July to assume ongoing construction responsibilities for the Memorial and the Memorial Museum from the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. The foundation will retain its design, operation and fundraising responsibilities.

After due diligence, the Port Authority and the Foundation have reconciled to a current project budget estimate of $530 million for the Memorial. These costs of construction will be provided through the Foundation, and the Port Authority will provide the infrastructure costs, estimated at $150 million. The Port Authority and the Foundation will work together to bring the costs below $530 million by taking advantage of cost saving opportunities.

The Board also authorized a lease of 412,043 square feet of office space in the Freedom Tower to the New York State Office of General Services for an initial term of 15 years. Under the terms of the lease, the state agency will have the right to lease up to an additional 600,000 square feet of space in the tower. The state’s Attorney General and Comptroller must approve the lease agreement.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “As we near the end of a truly remarkable year at the World Trade Center site, these actions represent real progress to restore this site and the economic vitality of Lower Manhattan and the rest of the region. The Port Authority clearly has the technical and building expertise to bring our visions for the Memorial to life. And our ability to secure an anchor tenant for the Freedom Tower will greatly assist us in attracting additional public- and private-sector tenants to this grand tower.”

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, \"We need to preserve and honor the memories of the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives on 9/11. Construction of a fitting and lasting Memorial is a priority, and I\'m pleased that the Port Authority has agreed to build this important national project.\"

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “As an agency that lost 84 of its own dedicated staff on 9/11, we are honored to build this memorial, which will ensure that future generations never forget what happened that fateful day. This agency is known as the builder of great, world-renowned infrastructure, and this will be another one of our signature projects. It will serve as a tribute to the heroic men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “When this stunning memorial opens in three years, it will give family members, survivors, tourists and others a location at which they can quietly reflect on the horror of 9/11 and on the heroism of hundreds of people who helped save thousands of lives. We also are extremely gratified that the New York State Office of General Services will be our first major tenant in the Freedom Tower, which will serve as the new home for thousands of state workers.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “This Memorial is a project of national significance and a beacon of hope for the site. Our staff is proud to play an integral role in what will be a national landmark for generations to come. As a former director of the Office of General Services, I’m also pleased that the agency will become the first major tenant in the Freedom Tower, and will join the Port Authority in calling the World Trade Center its home in the near future.”

The plan for the approximately eight-acre Memorial complex includes a landscaped memorial plaza at street level with views into the two voids that reside in the original footprints of the Twin Towers. This “Reflecting Absence” concept comprises waterfalls on all four sides of the two pools voids, surrounded by oak trees. Adjacent to the pools is a Visitors Orientation and Education Center, which provides visitors access from street level into the Memorial Museum below the plaza. The Port Authority has previously agreed to commit up to $195 million toward the Memorial and Memorial Museum.

Construction of the Memorial’s foundations and footings began in August and will be completed early next year. The Memorial is scheduled to open on September 11, 2009.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.