Dispute keeps WTC Tower 5 development in limbo

Port Authority and Lower Manhattan Development Corp. in row over payment for work rendered
September 11, 2014 01:40PM

The development of The 5 World Trade Center site could remain stalled for years due to a dispute between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the organization charged with rebuilding Downtown Manhattan following the Sept. 11 attacks.

David Emil, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., told Downtown Express that the organization is at a stalemate with the Port Authority over payment for the Tower 5 site. The LMDC agreed to transfer ownership to Port Authority in a 2006 deal, but Emil said the authority owes LMDC hundreds of millions of dollars for work done to prepare the site for development.

The site is worth between $300 and $500 million, Emil told the newspaper, adding that development costs soared due to the lengthy demolition of the neighboring Deutsche Bank building, which was ravaged by a fire in 2007.

Port Authority vice chairman Scott Rechler told Downtown Express that the 2006 deal should stand despite the higher demolition costs. He also disputed the assertion that the disagreement would stand in the way of development.

The Port Authority wants to wait for a developer to come up with a financially viable use for the site after a plan to move JPMorgan Chase’s headquarters to the site fell through in 2007. The LMDC believes a residential tower should rise at the site. [Downtown Express]Tom DiChristopher