Despite a bevy of problems at the Oculus, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is sticking with its management company.
The agency unanimously voted to extend Cushman & Wakefield’s contract to manage the 16-acre World Trade Center site by one year, the Wall Street Journal reported. It’s the first of three one-year renewal options. The firm will collect $850,000 in annual management fees for the job, with a $50 million budget for management, operation and maintenance in 2020.
The leaking Oculus has already cost the Port Authority hundreds of thousands of dollars after the $32 million skylight malfunctioned on Cushman’s watch in 2018. The designer of the Oculus, world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, was separately fined by a Venice judge for problems with a bridge he designed for the Grand Canal in Venice.
The agency hasn’t decided if it will repair the skylight.
Earlier this year, an indictment from the New York Attorney General alleged that a former Cushman electric manager and two contractors traded Mets World Series tickets, a Florida golf trip and on-demand luxury car service for preferential treatment at the World Trade Center construction site between 2015 and 2017.
One former Cushman employee is said to have received $17,000 in bribes from the contractors in exchange for confidential information about future work at the site, New York Attorney General Letitia James said. The former employee was charged with corruption and bribery.
Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton said the one-year extension would give the authority time to scrutinize Cushman.
“We did it in order to give us adequate time to take a look at the long-term future,“ Cotton said. A spokesperson for Cushman declined to comment. [WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei