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Thread: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

  1. #76

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    excerpt - http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showth...l=1#post335339
    "The furor over plans to build an Islamic center two blocks from ground zero had already been joined by several politicians. On Monday, two politicians were joined in turn by officials of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who sought to use the controversy to focus attention on their long-stymied effort to rebuild a church destroyed on 9/11 at the foot of the World Trade Center."

    Not to change the subject: but more on topic and what I think is a very interesting question giving the cordoba/park51 project. Why have we not yet (after 9 years) make any significant progress in the rebuilding of the 'Church' ; there are probably some simple answers, but is a subject I have not heard about in awhile and glad BPC has posted the article.

    http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showth...l=1#post335339

  2. #77
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That "But what about the unbuilt Greek church?" kool aid isn't too refreshing.

    Anyone who knows the WTC site knows that there's no place available to rebuild as of yet.

    The "Why" is self evident.

  3. #78

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    And there's no place available to rebuild yet because the PA seized the church's land to put in a truck ramp, and then reneged on its promise to swap them another parcel, and nobody cared until the President and Mayor felt the need to wax poetic about the Imam's freedom to build a mega-mosque, something that was never questioned, while staying silent about the expropriation of the Church's land, which is actually something our elected officials could and should do something about but aren't, because it scores them no points in the liberal press. (Except, of course, for ex-Governor Pataki, who was far from a perfect governor, but was a hell of a lot better than his two Democratic successors, and is honorably standing behind his commitment to the church even though he is out of politics.) I guess all that is self-evident, but it's nice to have the Times finally take notice.

  4. #79
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    They would have taken the church property by eminent domain if the church had said "NO" -- the land swap will be worked out.

    This statement from the article is disingenuous:

    ... blocking the reconstruction of St. Nicholas Church ...
    Is there any indication that the church wants to build anywhere else but on Liberty Street near their old site?

  5. #80
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC View Post

    ... reneged on its promise to swap them another parcel...
    The other parcel that was offered was on the same side of Liberty Street as the original parcel, but now closer to Greenwich.

    No matter which parcel, it's all a construction zone and nothing can be built there now.

    Neither side is being totally up front about the details.

  6. #81

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    Full circle.

    The protest against the mosque is supposedly in regard to the feelings of 09/11 families. So the liberal politicians, by "waxing poetic" [this sounds like a Cow Geller sound bite] about First Amendment rights, have reminded us that the mean PA has taken property from the church in order to build a "truck ramp."

    But the truck ramp is is only a part of the underground Vehicle Security Center. The original vehicle entry to the WTC was to be on the north side of the WTC site, with vehicle storage underground.

    The 09/11 families protested, stating that the twin tower footprints were sacred ground from bedrock to beyond infinity. Governor Potato Head agreed and had the PA look for alternatives, and the only workable solution was for the Deutsche Bank, Millstein, and St Nicholas properties to be transferred to the PA, and the VSC built underneath.

    I remember lots of neighborhood people were "waxing poetic" about the self-centered 09/11 families and Governor Potato Head.

    So here we are. If the VSC wasn't moved, the church could have already been rebuilt on the original property, without the need for a $40 million bomb-proof slab underneath.

  7. #82

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    That is largely how it happened (except that I generate my own soundbites, your misogynist comment notwithstanding). But none of that is the Church's doing or fault. It has always wanted to rebuild at or near its site as quickly as possible. The demands of the families, the neighbors, the PA, the Islamic Fundamentalists and their sympathizers and apologists, are all beside the point.

  8. #83
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    And they will still build "at or near its site."

    And everyone wanted the Deutsche Bank down "as quickly as possible." Until that happens and the VSC is close to completion nothing is going up here.

    The church group are the ones who, whether willingly or as puppets, are now trying to leverage the mosque mania to their advantage.

    But in NYC real estate wars it seems all is fair.

  9. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC View Post
    But none of that is the Church's doing or fault. It has always wanted to rebuild at or near its site as quickly as possible. The demands of the families, the neighbors, the PA, the Islamic Fundamentalists and their sympathizers and apologists, are all beside the point.
    I guess you can add the Greek Orthodox sympathizers to the pile.

    No, it isn't the church's fault.

    You said the issues of the mosque and church are "wholly unrelated," and then proceeded to tie them together in a Democrat-Republican feud.

    Somehow this issue got caught up with the whole GZ mosque thing.
    Not somehow. It was George Demos the candidate appearing on Fox. What did he think, "I'm Greek-American, maybe I can get some political capital out of this." His comments added fuel to the Judeo-Christian v. Islam debate. He even managed to get in a connection to Suffolk County voters who may have prayed at the church.

    So what appeared to be a money disagreement that could be laid out and quantitatively reviewed, is now linked to people on Park Pl screaming at each other.

  10. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    And they will still build "at or near its site."

    And everyone wanted the Deutsche Bank down "as quickly as possible." Until that happens and the VSC is close to completion nothing is going up here.

    Well, that's good news. I need to start following this project; and should make for an 'entertaining' thread as well. (LOL)

    P.S. This is an issue that seems to be (like the Mosque) something that will divide mostly along political party lines. News here from the 'conservative' party press. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010...icials-forgot/ This story will serve as a good 'angle' for attacking the Mosque project: and some valid issues are raised as well.
    Last edited by infoshare; August 25th, 2010 at 04:47 PM.

  11. #86
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    From that ^

    The good Father doesn't seem to want to explain, but rather ride piggy back with the folks across the square ...

    "We have people that are saying, why isn't our church being rebuilt and why is there ... such concern for people of the mosque?" Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant to the archbishop, told FoxNews.com. He said "religious freedom" would allow a place of worship for any denomination to be built, but accused officials with the Port Authority of making no effort to help move the congregation's project along.

    As the PA explains:

    The Port Authority and the church announced a deal in July 2008 under which the Port Authority would grant land and up to $20 million to help rebuild it in a new location -- in addition, the authority was willing to pay up to $40 million to construct a bomb-proof platform underneath.

    Within a year, the deal fell through and talks ended. Port Authority officials told Fox News that the deal is dead.

    The archdiocese and Port Authority offer sharply conflicting accounts of where things went wrong. The Port Authority has previously claimed the church was making additional demands -- like wanting the $20 million up front and wanting to review plans for the surrounding area. They say the church can still proceed on its own if it wishes.

    "The church continues to have the right to rebuild at their original site, and we will pay fair market value for the underground space beneath that building," a spokesperson with the Port Authority told Fox News.

    But Karloutsos called the Port Authority's claims "propaganda" and said the church has complied with all conditions. He said the government should honor agreements that date back to 2004 ...

    Both sides agree they had the beginnings of the final agreement in 2008. Now the Church is demanding that they both go back to some preliminary unfinished "agreement" from 2004?

    "Valid issues" indeed.

    When two parties are at the point of finalizing a deal and one side tries to tack on new stuff at the end, thinking they can leverage the game, deals often fall apart.

    No doubt this will force the parties back to the table, which is good. Then the Church will know where they will build and can get on with the designing stage for their $20 - $40 - $60 Million project to replace their little 3-story building.

    Don't be surprised if the Christians try to up the deal to $100 M in order to match the Muslim competition a few blocks to the north.

    Go Religion!

    Nice to see our tax dollars at work. Funny how that doesn't seem to be working both ways.

  12. #87
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    No doubt the collapse of financial industry (less than two months after this deal was announced), and the now-moribund plan for JP Morgan to build at 5WTC (and kick in $10M for the church infrastructure) is one reason that no deal was completed.

    Here's the JULY 2008 deal as announced by the PA:

    Port Authority, St. Nicholas Church Reach Ground Zero Deal

    NY OBSERVER
    By Eliot Brown
    July 28, 2008

    As expected, the Port Authority last week approved the land deal with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church to allow the Port to use the church's Ground Zero land and build a vehicle security center below.

    The bi-state agency agreed to give the church $20 million ($10 million is supposed to come from JPMorgan Chase for its planned adjacent building, though we'll see if that tower ever happens), along with up to $40 million for infrastructure. The church will get a significantly larger lot than it had prior to September 11, 2001, at 8,100 square feet.

    Release below.

    PORT AUTHORITY AND St. NICHOLAS CHURCH REACH AGREEMENT
    ON REBUILDING CHURCH AT WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE


    Agreement Allows WTC Vehicle Security Center to Move Forward

    The Port Authority and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church have reached an agreement that will allow the 92-year-old church to be rebuilt near its former location at the World Trade Center site. The agreement also resolves a key issue - one of the 15 fundamental issues identified in last month's Port Authority World Trade Center Assessment — that will allow construction to proceed on the Vehicle Security Center - a vital artery that will serve nearly every facility on the site and is a key driver of schedules and costs of the other projects.

    At its monthly meeting today, the bistate agency's Board of Commissioners authorized an agreement between the Port Authority, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the City of New York and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that will move the site of the Greek Church to allow for access and construction needed for the construction of the Vehicle Security Center.

    Under the agreement, St. Nicholas Church agreed to convey property at 155 Cedar Street - where the church was located before it was destroyed on 9/11 - to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. LMDC, in turn, will transfer the parcel at 130 Liberty Street to the church for its new building. LMDC will then transfer property at 155 Cedar Street, 140 Liberty Street and a portion of 130 Liberty Street to the Port Authority for construction of the South Bathtub, which will house the Vehicle Security Center.

    St. Nicholas will receive up to $20 million in direct costs for the rebuilt church, including $10 million from the Port Authority to mitigate the impact on the cost of building the church over the Vehicle Security Center, and $10 million from a third party as part of a future development agreement for the Tower 5 site. The Port Authority will provide an additional $20 million, up to a maximum of $40 million, to build the infrastructure needed to support the church on top of the Vehicle Security Center.

    As a result of this agreement, the Board approved an $88.6 million contract with the joint venture of E.E. Cruz & Co. and Nicholson, LLC for construction of the walls of the South Bathtub south of the existing World Trade Center site, which will be used ultimately to house the vehicle screening facility and parking for approximately 28 tour buses. The new South Bathtub will be bounded by Liberty, Greenwich, Cedar and West streets.

    Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "This agreement with the Greek Church brings to a successful close months of negotiations on an issue that, left unresolved, would have affected the successful construction progress we've made in the past two years and the future work we need to do at the World Trade Center site. It represents the Port Authority's firm resolve to do what is necessary to advance the rebuilding process as quickly as possible."

    Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said, "Resolving this lynchpin issue in a matter of weeks is a concrete example of the new way of doing business at the World Trade Center site. Much more remains to be done, but this agreement represents an important step forward."

    The St. Nicholas Church land rights claim was one of 15 key issues outlined in the World Trade Center Assessment report, which was commissioned by New York Governor David A. Paterson and released publicly on June 30.

  13. #88
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    From the NY TIMES March 18, 2009:

    ... the two sides never came to final terms. After months of negotiations, the Port Authority, which is overseeing reconstruction at ground zero, ended its talks with the church on Monday, saying that the church had sought increasingly costly concessions.

    Complaints, of course, abound on both sides.

    The authority now says that St. Nicholas is free to rebuild the church on its own parcel at 155 Cedar Street, just east of West Street. The authority will, in turn, use eminent domain to get control of the land beneath that parcel so it can move ahead with building foundation walls and a bomb-screening center for trucks, buses and cars entering the area.

    “We made an extraordinarily generous offer to resolve this issue and spent eight months trying to finalize that offer, and the church wanted even more on top of that,” said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Port Authority. “They have now given us no choice but to move on to ensure the site is not delayed. The church continues to have the right to rebuild at their original site, and we will pay fair market value for the underground space beneath that building.”

    Last July, the Port Authority and the Greek Orthodox Church announced a tentative plan to rebuild the church just east of its original site, at Liberty and Greenwich Streets. The authority agreed to provide the church with land for a 24,000-square-foot house of worship, far larger than the original, and $20 million. Since the church would be built in a park over the bomb-screening center, the authority also agreed to pay up to $40 million for a blast-proof platform and foundation.

    >>[NOTE: the 4-story original church, on a 1,200 SF lot, was less than 5,000 sf]

    In recent negotiations, the authority cut the size of the church slightly and told church officials that its dome could not rise higher than the trade center memorial. The church, in turn, wanted the right to review plans for both the garage with the bomb-screening center and the park, something the authority was unwilling to provide. More important, authority officials said, the church wanted the $20 million up front, rather than in stages. Officials said they feared that the church, which has raised about $2 million for its new building, would come back to the authority for more.

    The termination of negotiations is a major setback for the little church, a parish of 70 families that is nearly 90 years old. St. Nicholas officials had hoped to build an impressive structure, with a traditional Greek Orthodox dome, and a nondenominational center for visitors to ground zero. That will not be possible on the church’s original 1,200-square-foot lot, although church officials say they hope for reconciliation.

    “We consider the rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Church a sacred obligation to the victims of 9/11, to the city of New York, to the people of America and in fact to the international community,” said Stavros H. Papagermanos, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. “We will continue to discuss in good faith and we believe that all parties involved are well-intended, and ultimately we will overcome any obstacles that have arisen.”

    One person who was involved in the negotiations on behalf of the church, and who insisted on anonymity so as not to inflame the situation, criticized the Port Authority, saying it had made constantly shifting demands on St. Nicholas. Still, he said, the remaining issues were relatively small.

    But it does not appear that the Port Authority is posturing ...

  14. #89
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    I wonder if the Greek Orthodox Church has raised any more than that $2 Million in the last year?

  15. #90
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    From the NY TIMES July 3, 2008 ...

    Church’s Troubles Typify Ground Zero Delays

    ... The Greek Orthodox Church offers one example, but there are others. For instance, the design of the $2.5 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub is being substantially revised, even though construction is under way, making it impossible to accurately predict its completion date or costs. That in turn has made it difficult to predict the timetable and budget for a half-dozen other projects that depend on the hub.

    The church has for several years wanted to build the new St. Nicholas a block northeast of its original home on Cedar Street. But doing so would require trading land with the Port Authority, and an agreement has proven elusive. In the meantime, the church designed a domed marble complex that would be six times the size of its original home, and far more expensive.

    Both St. Nicholas and the Port Authority are eager to resolve the issues quickly, especially since the authority plans to pick a contractor to build the southern perimeter wall for the entire site this summer, and it needs title to the church’s property to proceed. But officials involved in the talks say there remain substantial differences over the size of the church complex and the amount of money the Port Authority will contribute to building it.

    “We understand the church’s mission,” said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority. “It is part of the history of the site and we want to maintain that. We just need to put the project in the right context.”

    John E. Pitsikalis, president of the St. Nicholas parish council, said his congregation of 70 families wanted both a new home and a place where visitors and tourists, regardless of their religion, could commemorate the lives lost on Sept. 11. Most of the families currently worship at SS. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn, where their priest, the Rev. John Romas, was assigned.

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