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Agglomeration
December 20th, 2002, 03:37 PM
CONSTRUCTION TOO TALL AN ORDER: EXPERTS

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

December 20, 2002 -- The new World Trade Center designs may be eye-catching and inventive - but no one is likely to build the super-tall towers many of them propose, developers, architects and real-estate experts said yesterday.

"You can't build megastructures," said Craig Whitaker, an architect who did not take part in the Trade Center design project.

"The simple fact is it may take 30 years for the site to be built out . . . They [the designs] are fun to look at but it's not how cities really get built."

Many of the designs call for building enormous office towers that would dwarf the old World Trade Center buildings and be the tallest in the world.

But critics said proposals like British architect Norman Foster's 1,764-foot "kissing" towers - taller than the original Twin Towers - ignore the realities of the real estate market.

"What these designs represent is something that is fantastical and exciting but as a practical matter, [the square footage in such large towers] may be all the market can handle in totality [over the next decade] and you would not want to bring it in at one time," said Bruce Mosler, president of Cushman Wakefield, the real-estate brokerage.

Manhattan developer Douglas Durst pointed out that the trade center was a financial flop for most of its life.

"Building another enormous building, especially when market conditions are what they are, doesn't make any sense," Durst said.

Real-estate experts have said that leasing the upper floors in any new skyscraper also would be difficult because of fears of another terror attack.

Asked if he thought it would be possible to build his towers, Foster said, "I'm not familiar with the world of New York developers.

"If you're saying, would I like to have an office on the 98th floor, of course I would. I'd jump at the opportunity. I like occupying high spaces."

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. initially told the seven teams of architects it hired to focus on the layout of the 16-acre site - but nearly all the teams produced plans that rely heavily on skyscrapers.

"We've been encouraged in that process. We haven't been discouraged," Foster said.

enzo
December 20th, 2002, 04:17 PM
Deja-vu.

Exactly what was said before the original twin towers were built. Exactly what was said about the Empire State too.

Let's prove them wrong yet again. Now is not the time for pessimism in this town. We wouldn't be the city we are today if we listened to these nay-sayers!

NoyokA
December 20th, 2002, 04:33 PM
A start date in 2005 for One Bryant Park, Durst has his own interests. A world class working environment as proposed by Norman Foster can and would be sould. To create such a profile in NYC and the world is very attractive, especially to smaller interest who would be eager to have a place here.

enzo
December 20th, 2002, 08:16 PM
And for anyone trying to predict the market for office space in Manhattan a decade from now may I point out that the key word is "predict". It cannot be done with complete accuracy. Sometimes gambles must be taken to create a new set of criteria for predicting a better future. I hope this city has not shyed away from that optomistic concept, it has served us well in the past.

Save me an office on the top floor.

ddjiii
December 21st, 2002, 11:44 PM
Well, easy for you all to say. After all, real estate analysts are rarely considered "PC Wackos" otherwise. Who wants to be first to bet your life savings that you can fill an office tower? As for the comment that that is what people said when the Empire State Building and the WTC were first built - you're right, and both of them were huge financial failures for years.

But that doesn't mean we have to give up. All we have to do is put together a decent land plan, provide better transportation links and some high quality public space, and create some buildable lots, and let the developers go to work. I have no doubt that the results will be as good as anyone can now imagine.

dbhstockton
December 23rd, 2002, 11:00 AM
But that doesn't mean we have to give up. All we have to do is put together a decent land plan, provide better transportation links and some high quality public space, and create some buildable lots, and let the developers go to work. I have no doubt that the results will be as good as anyone can now imagine.

This view is not incompatible with the proposals. *It's really unfair to characterize all the plans as "megastructures." *While it's obviously true of some of the plans, naysayers should take a closer look at the SOM and THINK proposals (probably Sky Park more than the others). *Rather than flooding the market with 10 million sq feet of space all at once, they allow for the construction of office towers over time, in phases as the market dictates. *The megastructures in the initial phases of these plans are not commercial. *They serve infrastructure, open space, cultural and memorial purposes, which serve the abstract purpose of making it more comfortable for people to think of working there again.

(Edited by dbhstockton at 11:05 am on Dec. 23, 2002)

Agglomeration
December 23rd, 2002, 05:27 PM
I suspect that these people think only short-term.

As for these skeptics, why are the Times Square Tower, Bloomberg Tower, and big bad AOL Center rising? According to your logic, these towers should be stopped and their foundations dismantled.

If the real estate market is so sucky, then why do we have quite a hundred big buildings rising in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines? They're building these big places because they want to emulate New York, not Boston or Los Angeles. Let's hope these wackos don't take their venom to these places.