The Real Deal New York

WTC performing arts center gets another redesign

The building will encompass 80,000 square feet at a reduced construction cost

October 23, 2015 10:02AM

A model of the proposed WTC Arts Center

A rejected model of the proposed arts center

After more than a decade of false starts, architect changes and disputes over costs, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp is set to present another, possibly-definitive plan to build a performing arts center at the World Trade Center.

The latest version of the proposal has an unnamed architecture firm designing an 80,000-square-foot building, between three and four stories aboveground.

Frank Gehry produced the original design plan back in 2004. That blueprint was thrown out in 2014.

The new plan, with a cost not to exceed $200 million for aboveground construction, includes a 600-700 seat auditorium and a 200-seat theater on the main floor, as well as two additional theaters upstairs and a cafe or restaurant on the ground floor, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Observers expressed skepticism that the new vision would hold up and fundraising would suffer.

“Each time it changes, it’s hard to have faith that the board has a clear vision for what they are trying to create,” Michael Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland and the former president of Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, told the Journal. “I think a clear story line about why we are doing this, and how we are going to do this, and when we are going to do this, is required to put all of the pieces in place and get the funding to get it done.” [WSJ]Ariel Stulberg