The Real Deal New York

Skanska stops work at WTC shrine over missed payments

Archdiocese skipped multiple deadlines
December 12, 2017 07:00AM

Photos of St. Nicholas National Shrine near the World Trade Center

Construction has come to a halt at a religious shrine near the World Trade Center after the church missed several payments to the project’s construction team.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America allegedly misappropriated funds intended for St. Nicholas National Shrine and missed a series of payments to the project’s contractor, the Commercial Observer reported. As a result, Skanska USA ended its contract with the Archdiocese and instructed its subcontractors to stop all work at 130 Liberty Street.

According to the Pappas Post, the church’s leaders misappropriated restricted or segregated funds — including some meant for the shrine — for travel expenses and other administrative costs.

To address these issues, the archdiocese says it’s hired a new chairman of the church’s finance committee, tasked accounting firm Grant Thornton with conducting an audit and plans to form an investigative committee to study the project.

The shrine, designed by Santiago Calatrava, sits on land controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The church leases the land for $1 per year and has the option to buy the property for $1 at any time during its 198-year lease. The shrine replaces a chapel that was destroyed during the Sept. 11 attacks. [CO] — Kathryn Brenzel