Affordable homes planned in final tower of new World Trade Center campus

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board (LMDC) yesterday revealed their preferred developer for World Trade Center Site 5, the last to be developed after the devastating 9/11 attacks nearly 20 years ago.

A partnership led by Brookfield Properties and Silverstein Properties has been selected to enter into exclusive negotiations for a lease to develop a mostly residential tower on the site of the former Deutsche Bank building.

It marks the first appearance of residential rental units at the new WTC campus, and 25% of them, some 330 in number, will be designated as "permanently affordable".

The plan for the 1.56 million-gross-sq-ft building anticipates 1.2 million square feet of residential space, some 1,325 residential rental units. It would also include approximately 190,000 sq ft of office space.

Included as well are a 12,000-sq-ft community facility, 55,000 sq ft of public amenity space and 7,000 sq ft of retail.

The project is expected to generate more than 10,000 job years of work during construction, over 1,900 permanent jobs and generate $1.9bn in economic output.

"The Port Authority’s dedication to rebuilding the World Trade Center has helped restore Lower Manhattan and brought life back to the campus following the September 11th attacks. Today’s Board action to choose the development team for 5 WTC is the realization of a nearly two-decade long commitment to that work," said Kevin O’Toole, Chairman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

LMDC chair Holly Leicht said: "This is the right capstone project for the campus, reinforcing Lower Manhattan as a live-work community and bringing much-needed affordable housing and a new community facility to the neighbourhood. We look forward to working with the development team and the residents of Lower Manhattan to make this project a reality."

Located directly south of Liberty Park, the 33,000-sq-ft lot is close to more than a dozen subway lines and the PATH train system.

The Deutsche Bank building was extensively damaged in the 9/11 attacks. LMDC, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, purchased the site in 2004 and completed deconstruction, abatement and excavation in 2011 – work that was funded by a US Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.

In June 2019, the Port Authority and LMDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a development team to lease or purchase and redevelop the site with a commercial or mixed-use project.

The RFP selection committee received five responses and weighed them against four criteria: 1) Financial Proposal, 2) Project Program, Design and Community Benefits, 3) Respondent Experience and Execution, and 4) Diversity Practices.

That resulted in the selection of a partnership of Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties, Omni New York, and Dabar Development Partners. They must now secure all necessary public approvals for the project.

Image: The 9/11 Memorial at the site of the Twin Towers destroyed on 11 September 2001 (Axel Houmadi/Unsplash)

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  1. Thinking about our lower income people and actually doing something like this to include them is encouraging and uplifting. Wonderful.

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