It’s been more than a year since construction on the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center came to a halt after the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America allegedly missed several payments to Skanska, the construction firm that was building the church. With little to no sign of the $80 million project getting back on track, the Port Authority—who owns the land on which the shrine sits—is offering its assistance.
In a November letter penned to the leaders of the church, Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton stated that the agency could “facilitate construction based on appropriate commitments or could assemble a group to take over construction.” Cotton also offered assistance with redesign of the Santiago Calatrava-designed church “to make it financially feasible,” reports the New York Post. “If completion is not possible, we would assist in any way possible to find an alternative configuration to complete the project,” said Cotton.
In a statement to the Post, a spokesperson for the Authority made it clear that construction and financial obligations for the project rest solely with the church, though the Authority is willing to provide its support.
In December 2017, reports revealed that church leaders “misappropriated segregated or restricted funds” which included money to pay for the shrine’s construction and it needs an additional $38 million to complete the project. However, Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox church in the U.S., responded to the Port Authority, stating that the “project is on the right course and that construction will resume in the not too distant future.” Demetrios also highlighted the Port Authority’s own delays at the World Trade Center site and noted that he is confident that the Archdiocese will overcome its obstacles, just as the Port Authority has.