The Port Authority, which owns, Ground Zero is reported waffling on returning. Meanwhile Gov. Pataki has said categorically he will return – if the Freedom Tower is ever built.
The Port Authority earlier said it categorically would not move 2,000 employees back to Ground Zero.
However Executive Director Kenneth Ringler is now trying spin control that sent two media reports giving conflicting headlines.
NY1 headlined its article Port Authority To Move Back To World Trade Center Site but then quoted Ringler that they might not relocate to the new Freedom Tower.
That might not be the best place for the Port Authority,” said Port Authority executive director Kenneth Ringler. “We are discussing having those discussions with the lease holder and we will be back to the site. There are five buildings at the World Trade Center.
The NY1 article notes that Pataki plans to move the Governor’s office to the Freedom Tower. Of course Pataki will not to be governor when the Tower is completed. Ironically Pataki had overseen the move of the governor’s office from the original World Trade Center to Midtown when the keys were handed over to Larry Silverstein.
Meanwhile WNYC headlined its story “No Word Port Authority’s Return to Ground Zero” noting that Ringler would not commit to relocating to Ground Zero. Ringler notes the Port Authority focus is on the $2 billion subway station which he says will open in 2009 (the Port Authority not coincidentally is attempting to collect insurance for the project but the insurers have filed a counter suit saying the claim is frivolous since Silverstein and the Port Authority can’t both collect for the same property).
Some – but unfortunately not a lot — have questioned how the Port Authority managed to throw away the Libeskind master plan to build a subway station that will cost as much as the illfated West Side Stadium.
The subway station was supposed to be part of the office towers that Silverstein was building – much as was the way things were handled originally in the WTC.
Building the cool looking subway station will remove space available for the office towers. Silverstein says that unless he builds 10 million square feet of office space he will not be able to collect the insurance to complete Ground Zero office towers since insurance settlements require him to do that.
Reports indicate the Port Authority is trying to stong arm Silverstein, who is paying the PA $10 million/month for Ground Zero even though there are no open structures now, into default. If such a battle is carried to its ultimate ends, it will tie Ground Zero up for years.
The photo above shows the Jamaica Station of the JFK AirTrain. The principal argument for a new $2 billion subway station at Ground Zero is to provide a link to Long Island and the Jamaica Station. However there is considerable whether the $6 billion tunnel to do this will ever be built.