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Thread: Winter Garden of World Financial Center - Recent pictures

  1. #121
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. Email in support of saving the stairs has been sent.

  2. #122
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    CB1, BPCA WEIGH PLANS TO DEMOLISH WFC STAIRCASE

    Battery Park City Broadsheet [pdf]
    By Dianne Renzulli
    March 19 - April 3, 2011

    The Brookfield Plan:

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    Similar Atrium Mall configurations:

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    In February, Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center, unveiled its redesign plan and confirmed rumors that it planned to remove the Winter Garden’s Grand Staircase. Although the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 alerted Brookfield to neighborhood concerns about the staircase several months ago, last week’s meeting brought Brookfield face to face with its grass roots opposition for the first time.

    Members of the community have awakened to the fact that Brookfield seems prepared to do away with the staircase, and several of them are here tonight. In all of our conversations, I’ve told Brookfield that the staircase has a meaning to them emotionally, and finally this issue is being put on the table by the residents of this neigh-borhood,” said Linda Belfer, chair of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee.

    The opposition group, known informally as “Save the Stairs” and led by Battery Park City resident Justine Cuccia, is putting together a petition, and hopes to have hun- dreds if not thousands of signatures in the near future. “For the people who lived here and came back, it’s a problem to change this staircase. Brookfield built that in a year after 9/11, and if you built that in a year, I could get up the next day. If you take it away, it destroys a lot of people who looked at that as their rebuild- ing and their hope,” she explained. People interested in contacting the group can reach them via e-mail at SaveTheStairs@gmail.com

    Opposition to demolishing the staircase was further supported by Frank Scandiffio, a Union 32BJ representative, on behalf of the World Financial Center’s service employ- ees. He said the union has workers in the building who have been here 15 to 20 years, who feel strongly about removing the staircase, and who are prepared to come out in numbers to bolster residents’ efforts.

    Executive Vice President of Brookfield Properties Larry Graham reiterated that Brookfield has exhausted all other options in planning for the daily traffic of people that will pass through the Winter Garden from the World Trade Center complex, once the East-West Connector (a pedestrian tunnel that will link the World Financial Center to the new World Trade Center com- plex) is completed and the Vesey Street bridge is demolished. “I think it’s important to remember that Brookfield isn’t doing this out of some evil motivation,” he said. “The staircase is important to us. We rebuilt it after Sept. 11th. The steps are very emotional to us as well. We only came to this after long study. We’re doing this to preserve the Winter Garden, for it to continue to be a place of refuge,” he said. He lent some emotional weight to his statement later in the meeting when he recounted how he had been at the World Financial Center on the day of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th, and had broken his foot on the rubble when he came back the next day.

    Mr. Graham tried to address some concerns voiced by the community. First, Brookfield intends to restructure, not add to, the existing 180,000 square feet of retail space, and add 30 percent to the Winter Garden’s public space. Second, the arts and events program will continue to be funded by the organization. Third, all of the existing seating is going to stay, and additional seating is being added on the second level. Moreover, he said, an outside dining terrace will provide still more seating capacity for special events. Finally, the viewing platform of the World Trade Center site on the second level will stay. To further allay community concerns, Mr. Graham agreed to take CB1’s Battery Park City Committee, as well as its Landmark Committee members, on a walking tour of the World Financial Center to further clarify changes contemplated in its redesign.

    Two clear-cut hurdles exist before Brookfield can begin work on removing the staircase. The Battery Park City Authority, which owns the land under the Brookfield complex and functions as its landlord, must approve any major changes made to the complex. Approval from the BPCA is contingent upon the results of its independent review of Brookfield’s plan, as Authority president Gayle Horwitz said a a recent meeting of the BPCA’s board. On the other hand, Brookfield’s design for an exterior pavilion, over the area where the East-West Connector surfaces between West Street and the Winter Garden’s entrance, has been modified and needs to be approved by the City’s Planning Board. Work on the pavilion could not begin until 2013, after the underpass is completed.

    Ms. Horwitz at last Tuesday’s meeting of the BPC Committee that the City Planning Board’s authority over the staircase’s removal is ambiguous at present. “It’s a very interesting game of chicken. Everybody is waiting to see some of the information and I think what is going to happen is that we’re going to have to have some sort of final conversation [with City Planning and Brookfield],” she said. Later in the meeting, Ms. Horwitz agreed to a request from the chair of CB1’s Landmarks Committee, Roger Byrom, to allow his panel to review the BPCA’s independent study, once it is completed.

  3. #123
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    World Financial Center is on Facebook - tell Brookfield how you feel about destruction of the Stairs directly on their web-page!

    The facebook page is:

    World Financial Center

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/p...32448846793859

    A brief update, we have 1,500 signatures on the Petition and growing. Brookfield is holding firm - maintaining that the destruction of the Stairs is a necessary part of their rennovation of the Winter Garden and World Financial Center. Brookfiled explained during a walk-thru that they intend to bring in an "anchor store" which "MUST" be located in the retail space nearest where people enter the Winter Garden from the World Trade Center Tunnel. Brookfield further claims that additonal escalators must be added for safety reasons and, to accomodate the "anchor store", the escaltors need to be placed so that the Stairs have to be removed. I do not challenge the need for additional escalators, only the choice of where they "must" be placed. Moving the escalators will require giving up some of the "anchor store" retail space, which Brookfield does not want to do. Mind you, the retail space in question, has been empty for more than a decade!

    I have made this explanation quite simple, but it is the gist of Brookfield's position. Saving the Stairs will not require a major overhaul of their plans. It will save Brookfiled money, I imagine, as it can not be cheap to destroy the Stairs. And keeping the stairs would maintain Brookfield's strong track record as a good corporate citizen and an upstanding neighbor to the Battery Park City and lower Manhattan community.

    As always, thanks for your support!

  4. #124

    Default

    ^
    Well, there you go.

    Brookfield continually stressed the point that the demolition of the stairs would not result in additional retail space. But in reality, it's still about retail, not pedestrian flow. Retailers are more willing to pay higher rent if the store has more visibility.

    So get rid of the stairs; make the space a big cube.

  5. #125

    Default "Survivors' Staircase"

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    World Financial Center is on Facebook - tell Brookfield how you feel about destruction of the Stairs directly on their web-page!

    The facebook page is:

    World Financial Center

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/p...32448846793859

    A brief update, we have 1,500 signatures on the Petition and growing. Brookfield is holding firm - maintaining that the destruction of the Stairs is a necessary part of their rennovation of the Winter Garden and World Financial Center. Brookfiled explained during a walk-thru that they intend to bring in an "anchor store" which "MUST" be located in the retail space nearest where people enter the Winter Garden from the World Trade Center Tunnel. Brookfield further claims that additonal escalators must be added for safety reasons and, to accomodate the "anchor store", the escaltors need to be placed so that the Stairs have to be removed. I do not challenge the need for additional escalators, only the choice of where they "must" be placed. Moving the escalators will require giving up some of the "anchor store" retail space, which Brookfield does not want to do. Mind you, the retail space in question, has been empty for more than a decade!

    I have made this explanation quite simple, but it is the gist of Brookfield's position. Saving the Stairs will not require a major overhaul of their plans. It will save Brookfiled money, I imagine, as it can not be cheap to destroy the Stairs. And keeping the stairs would maintain Brookfield's strong track record as a good corporate citizen and an upstanding neighbor to the Battery Park City and lower Manhattan community.

    As always, thanks for your support!
    Maybe if we take the angle that this was also a "Survivors' Staircase" on 9/11?

    It is a vital piece of the history of that day.

  6. #126

    Default

    It'll be a real shame if this comes to pass. I'd help you guys with the fight if I lived there.

  7. #127
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Save the Stairs - May 4 @ 1:20P - 2P

    From the Save the Stairs group ...

    I wanted to share the e-mail invitation I received from the SEIU32bj Union about a small demonstration they have planned for tomorrow to Save the Stairs.

    Jin Tai, from SEIU32bj Union, is the group that set up the web page www.savethestaircase.org or http://bit.ly/savethestaircase where you can go and send a letter to the Battery Park City Authority and our other elected officials, telling them how you feel about the Winter Garden Staircase.

    Since the web page was set up yesterday, over 140 letters have been sent!! Add yours to the list.

    If you are interested and able to join in the demonstration tomorrow afternoon, please come!

    Tomorrow Brookfield will have its annual share-holders meeting starting at 2pm at 3 World Financial Center, 26th Floor. We’ll have about 30-50 members leafleting to have a small demo at all entrances toward 3 WFC at 1:20pm -2:00pm. We’ll arrive and gather people at 1:15pm at the corner of Vesey &West st. I wonder if any of you are interested in meeting us there at that time?

    Hope to see you tomorrow - and at the least, please go to the web page www.savethestaircase.org or http://bit.ly/savethestaircase !

    Have a nice evening!

  8. #128

    Default

    Sorry to be contrarian, but the essential part of the Winter Garden to me is the atrium, not the staircase. Here's the letter to the editor I wrote to the Broadsheet Daily last month:

    To the editor,
    While the Broadsheet Daily has featured several letters to the editor opposed to removing the staircase in the World Financial Center (WFC) Winter Garden, I wanted to make known my support of the proposed changes. I live just north of the WFC and both of my young boys practiced learning how to climb steps on that staircase. I always take visitors up the staircase to see the progress at Ground Zero.

    However, Brookfield Property's justifications for removing the staircase seem quite reasonable to me. I am excited about their plans to integrate the WFC into the new World Trade Center complex. That requires that the East-West Connector under West Street both reliably carry tens of thousands of people a day, and that it be a pleasant experience. I'm particularly excited at the prospect of a direct connection from the WFC ferry dock all the way to the Calatravo PATH station and the 11 subway lines at the new Fulton Street Transit center.

    The glass atrium of the Winter Garden creates a pleasant indoor space, especially during the windy winter months. But the marble interior has a dated 80's look and would benefit from a thorough remodel. I am particularly pleased to hear that Brookfield aims to significantly upgrade the quality of the dining options, in order to make the WFC more of a seven-day-a-week destination.

    It's not surprising that hybrid public-private spaces like the Winter Garden create mixed feelings among the community and a resistance to change. But it is hardly the case that Brookfield is trying to remove public amenities. Instead, they have every incentive to make the WFC as attractive a destination as possible for residents, workers, and tourists. I support letting them go forward with their proposed changes.
    Dan Kohn

  9. #129
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default I usually don't do cut and paste here but...

    This is from something called Boadsheet Daily -

    As summer approaches, vendors south of the Winter Garden's palm court are preparing for their last warm-weather season in their present locations. Aside from Hallmark, sources say that Brookfield has asked SouthWest restaurant, Boomerang Toys, the Runners Shop, Ciao Bella Gelato, Add Accessories and Cobbler Express to leave at the end of September.

    Karen Barwick, owner of Boomerang Toys, said "the guy I deal with is very nice about it but he says there's no space left upstairs to move into. He said Hallmark is supposed to move, but they're not even sure they can find a space for them. Everything from the palm trees back is going."
    Godiva chocolates has closed

    Retailers on the other side of the palm court (eShave, Sunglass Hut and Banana Republic) say they are planning to stay and have not heard otherwise. Godiva chocolates, one of the Winter Garden's original tenants, going back 20 years, closed this month.

    Melissa Coley, vice president of investor relations and communications for Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center (WFC), said there has been "no additional word from government agencies about the WFC redevelopment plan. There will be additional store closings but we don't have the details just yet."

    Brookfield has announced that it will be doing construction in the Winter Garden to prepare for the tunnel under West Street which will link the WFC to the World Trade Center site, in addition to adding a food market and dining space in the location where the current vendors south of the palm court are located.

    Before Brookfield can proceed, it is waiting for feedback on its plan to demolish the Winter Garden staircase from the Battery Park City Authority and the New York City Department of City Planning.

    The plan has sparked community opposition from residents, most notably Justine Cuccia, a resident of Battery Park City since 1997, whose petition "Save the Winter Garden Staircase" has collected more than 1,600 signatures.


    text and photos Dianne Renzulli

  10. #130
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I just got an email from Save the Stairs:
    Folks,

    I had to share the news ASAP - I am still waiting for specific details, but it appears that Brookfield has announced that the Stairs will be preserved despite the fact that they will be doing major rennovations in the WFC - scheduled to begin in October, 2011.

    More to come, but I want to thank you all for your support! You all did it!

    CURBED today has new images of the Brookfield food court / mall plan inlcuding this:

    ... the redo "incorporates the existing Winter Garden staircase," according to a Brookfield press release ...

    Latest Vision for World Financial Center Renovation Revealed



  11. #131

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    My neighbor sent me a text about this a little earlier. Cool.

    I didn't want to raise any hopes, but opposition to the demolition had been getting strong over the last few weeks. At CB1 meeting in late May the union local that maintains the WFC came out against the demolition.

    The extent of the renovation is a surprise, and that made it difficult for Brookfield to insist that removal of the staircase was about pedestrian flow from the east-west connector. It was always retail driven, and from a retail (their) perspective, demolition was the right choice.

    That's why although Brookfield insisted that they couldn't continue with the renovation without removal of the staircase, now all you'll hear about is their great plan for the new space. Everything is fine.

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  13. #133
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Proves that pushing back can be worth it.

  14. #134
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I'm not going to touch that line.

  15. #135

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    I like how they're connecting BPC to the rest of downtown. When I lived there pre-9/11, it was isolated. With the newly reconfigured West St., it will not be isolated any more.

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