Everyone has been fairly impressed with the way new Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward has handled the World Trade Center clusterfuck. The master plan has been sorted out, there is visible progress on the Freedom Tower and the stripped-down transportation hub, and the memorial and museum may be open (but not really) in two years. Plus, there's that helpful new website! Yep, everything is humming along down at ground zero, but like a young starlet fresh out of rehab, we have to expect an occasional slip-up. Sure enough, Steve Cuozzo reports today that Fumihiko Maki's angular Tower 4, the smallest of developer Larry Silverstein's three towers on the site and the one that's scheduled to be completed first, may be behind schedule again. And it's all because of a 20-foot wall!
But a wall the PA put up to shore up the earth beneath the No. 1 train subway line box stands on the western side of the Tower 4 site - causing the arbitrators to say the PA did not deliver the site to Silverstein "in construction-ready condition" by a deadline earlier this year. Sources familiar with the project say the wall "impedes the footings and foundation" on the Greenwich Street side. Until the PA can get rid of the wall, it will potentially have a serious impact on the tower's completion date.
"The footings and foundation are basically done except for where the wall is," said a source familiar with the project.
"If Silverstein could go full-bore, it would probably be done in 2012. If they dismantle the wall fairly soon - like next spring - they might be able to accelerate things and still make the deadline.
"But if it takes longer, who knows?"
A PA spokesman denied to The Cuozz that the wall is an impediment to the construction of Tower 4, but we wouldn't stake our Makis to that claim.
· 20-Ft. Wall Holds Up Tower 4 [NYP]
· World Trade Center Redevelopment coverage [Curbed]