PDA

View Full Version : Port Authority Architect Shown the Door - NY Newsday article



ZippyTheChimp
April 2nd, 2003, 08:37 PM
Port Authority Architect Shown The Door

By Katia Hetter
Staff Writer

April 1, 2003, 10:27 PM EST

With the Port Authority endorsing Daniel Libeskind's plans for Ground Zero, the architect hired to develop the agency's own plans has been shown the door, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

Architect Stanton Eckstut was hired by the Port Authority last fall to develop a plan detailing the site's infrastructure, transit and memorial needs, at the same time that the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. was running a design competition for the site.

"Stan Eckstut's assigned work for the Port Authority on the restoration of the World Trade Center site has been completed," said Port Authority spokesman Greg Trevor. "The Port Authority greatly appreciates Stan's hard work, particularly in the process that led to the selection of Studio Daniel Libeskind's extraordinary vision for the rebirth of the World Trade Center site. Stan played a key role in reviewing the nine plans and the two finalists."

His office referred calls for comment to the Port Authority.

At times, Port Authority officials had suggested that any LMDC-selected architects would provide only "themes" or"vision" for the Port Authority's master plan for the site.

When Port Authority officials saw what they liked in Libeskind's design and the modifications he made to his initial proposal, and decided to hire him, they apparently had no further need for their own master planner.

Under a joint Port Authority-LMDC contract, Libeskind will refine his master plan and develop guidelines for commercial
development. Under other contracts, Libeskind will work for the LMDC to develop memorial and cultural space guidelines,
while working for the Port Authority on the transit hub.

Eckstut, a principal in the Manhattan firm of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, was hired under a pre-existing contract with the agency, said Trevor. The Port Authority has multi-year contracts with Eckstut and other professional firms, which allow the agency to hire them for work on an as-needed basis.

Eckstut's firm lost the initial LMDC contract to Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners last summer.

When Beyer Blinder Belle's plans were rejected after poor reviews, the LMDC launched a second competition, which resulted in the selection of Libeskind's design in February.

"Stan and his team made a tremendous contribution to this effort," said LMDC spokesman Matt Higgins.

JMGarcia
April 2nd, 2003, 09:16 PM
The consolidation of political forces behind Libeskind has been remarkable. Even more remarkable has been the acceptance on the part of the general public, save for those on the extremes of the debate.

I am expecting the conflict to pick up again when the memorial competition starts in ernest though.

NYguy
April 3rd, 2003, 08:46 AM
Quote: from JMGarcia on 8:16 pm on April 2, 2003
I am expecting the conflict to pick up again when the memorial competition starts in ernest though.

You may not have to wait that long.

NY Post...

GROUND ZERO SNAG
By WILLIAM NEUMAN

The company that holds the right to rebuild the World Trade Center shopping mall has sent officials a letter rejecting architect Daniel Libeskind's Ground Zero design - raising the possibility of legal wrangling that could tie up decisions about the site.

"At this point we have no choice but to formally notify you that the Libeskind plan does not provide an acceptable framework for the redevelopment of our retail space," said the March 14 letter from Westfield America Corp. to Port Authority Executive Director Joe Seymour.

"Therefore, unless we are able to quickly resolve our differences, we will be forced to take appropriate steps to protect our interests."

The letter, which was obtained by The Post, was sent just two weeks after officials with the PA and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. announced the selection of the Libeskind plan.

Westfield was partners with real-estate developer Larry Silverstein in signing a 99-year lease on the trade center in July 2001.

While Silverstein paid to lease the office space in the Twin Towers, Westfield took over the 460,000-square-foot mall in the underground concourse.

Westfield's lease gives the firm the right to rebuild on the site, and even expand its square footage. *But the company says Libeskind's design, which provides for 880,000 square feet of retail above and below ground, won't work no matter how much space there is.

"We have reviewed the most recent version of the Libeskind plan and do not believe it is consistent with the Port Authority's obligations to us or . . . the type of retail that we believe is most appropriate for the site," the letter says.

Westfield wants revisions to the plan to make it more retail friendly.

The trade center retail mall was considered among the most lucrative in the country, because of the thousands of commuters and office workers that streamed by - and Westfield clearly fears what replaces it will be worth less.

"There was a concourse [at the WTC] that was on a single level. Now we have three or four levels of stacked retail ," Westfield vice chairman Richard Green told The Post.

"What that does is it eliminates the ability for consumers to just walk by your store. That is a very big issue."

ZippyTheChimp
April 3rd, 2003, 09:33 AM
Will Westfield control all the retail on the site, or just the below ground concourse retail? If it's the latter, which I always thought, then it's obvious what's going on here.

Given the many demands on the site, it's unreasonable to expect a single level sprawling concourse. Stacked retail is common to a typical American mall.

NYguy
April 3rd, 2003, 09:34 AM
They controlled the entire mall...

JMGarcia
April 3rd, 2003, 09:38 AM
I don't believe that Westfield, unlike Silverstein, has enough insurance money to make anyone listen too closely to their demands. The Mayor especially is against the type of mall that Westfield wants.

Some compromise will be worked out no doubt.

ZippyTheChimp
April 3rd, 2003, 09:39 AM
Then Westfield's argument has even less merit. Maximize the
walk-by attractiveness of your property at the expense of correcting the former site's flaws.

Legal blackmail.

NYguy
April 3rd, 2003, 05:14 PM
Quote: from JMGarcia on 8:38 am on April 3, 2003
I don't believe that Westfield, unlike Silverstein, has enough insurance money to make anyone listen too closely to their demands. The Mayor especially is against the type of mall that Westfield wants.


Westfield's lease gives the firm the right to rebuild on the site, and even expand its square footage.

In the end, it may depend on the lease. *But it is an issue that can be worked out. *Just redesign the retail space. *I can understand the Westfield argument though. *Are commuters using the PATH for example, more likely to browse a store as they whiz by on their way to the train? *Only those with the intention of shopping will want to visit the multiple levels.

JMGarcia
April 4th, 2003, 12:47 AM
Retail-Space Developer Balks at the Design for Ground Zero
NY Times
By EDWARD WYATT

The company that holds the right to develop retail shopping space at the World Trade Center site has told its landlord that it believes that Daniel Libeskind's design violates the company's right to build appropriate shopping areas.

The company, Westfield America, which is based in Los Angeles, first expressed its opinion in a March 14 letter to Joseph J. Seymour, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site.

"We have reviewed the most recent version of the Libeskind plan and do not believe it is consistent with the Port Authority's obligations to us or, based on our expertise and experience, the type of retail that we believe is most appropriate for the site and its potential," the letter states.

Peter S. Lowy, Westfield's chief executive, said in an interview yesterday that the company had not yet received a reply but that it expected to be included in discussions about the detailed design of shopping areas at the trade center site.

"We do have an understanding that there are a number of constituencies here, and we are not by any means the largest or most vocal," Mr. Lowy said. "But we do as a company have real expertise in this area, and that expertise should be used as part of the input into the development of the retail space."

Port Authority officials played down the idea of a dispute between the parties.

A disagreement has the potential to derail, at least temporarily, the progress that rebuilding officials and Mr. Libeskind are making toward the completion of a detailed design.

"We have a cooperative, working relationship with Westfield, and we fully expect that relationship to continue," said Greg Trevor, a spokesman for the authority.

But Mr. Lowy emphasized that Westfield would not accept a design that might even inadvertently diminish the value of one of the most lucrative retail franchises in the country.

In its letter, Westfield stated that unless its differences with the Port Authority were quickly resolved, "we will be forced to take appropriate steps to protect our interests." An article about the letter first appeared yesterday in The New York Post.

Mr. Lowy would not say what steps it might take. But its interests are clear. The retail space that existed at the World Trade Center before Sept. 11, 2001, was some of the most successful in the nation, in large part because it was in an underground mall through which 150,000 people walked each day.

When it was destroyed, the trade center had roughly 430,000 square feet of retail space, nearly all of it below ground. Westfield's lease with the Port Authority allowed it to expand that to 650,000 square feet, and the company was considering building new retail stores on the plaza area at the base of the twin towers.

The Libeskind plan, which was selected in February as the winner of a design competition, provides for 880,000 square feet of retail space on the site. About 480,000 square feet of that is below ground, mainly in the concourses linking the site with subway lines and PATH commuter rail lines and in the new transportation hub.

The remaining 400,000 square feet of retail space would be above ground, mainly in street-level storefronts at the base of office buildings.

That configuration is favored by city officials and community groups, which want to enliven the street areas on and around the site. But the layout makes it less likely that the same amount of foot traffic would pass by each store.

NYguy
April 4th, 2003, 08:56 AM
NY Post...

MARRIOTT DEMANDS MORE INN-PUT ON WTC REBUILDING PLANS

By WILLIAM NEUMAN

April 4, 2003 -- At least two major leaseholders at the World Trade Center have written to development officials asserting their legal rights to rebuild on the site - and civic leaders warned yesterday that planning for Ground Zero could disintegrate into a tangle of lawsuits.

Officials told The Post that Host Marriott Corp. sent a letter to the Port Authority after the selection of a WTC master plan in February, saying the company expects to rebuild a hotel on the site as large as the one that was destroyed in the terror attack - and reminding the PA of the company's rights under its lease.

The original hotel was 600,000 square feet, but the new WTC master plan by architect Daniel Libeskind calls for a hotel of just 360,000 to 560,000 square feet, depending on the configuration of the buildings on the site.

Officials acknowledged the Marriott letter yesterday after The Post reported on a letter to the PA in which Westfield America, the company that leased the WTC shopping mall, rejected the Libeskind plan, saying its layout would not provide retail space of a similar value to what was lost.

The tone of the Marriott letter was far more conciliatory, sources said, but together the letters show that corporations with a financial interest in the trade center are maneuvering to insure the value of their investments.

"We've been waiting for this phase of things to happen," said Bob Yaro, head of the Regional Plan Association, which has monitored the rebuilding process downtown.

"This could end in years of controversy and delay and that's not in anybody's interest."

Yaro said state and city officials need to meet with the commercial interests involved at Ground Zero and "either find an accommodation that rationalizes [those interests] with the Libeskind plan or finds a graceful and appropriate way to buy them out."

billyblancoNYC
April 4th, 2003, 11:12 AM
If the plan calls for up to 560K for a hotel, just make it friggin 600K and shut Marriott up.

If the mall had 400K, now it will have 800K+ (some on street, some below), how can Westfield bitch? *