WTC Construction Update: With Transit Hub on Horizon, Office Towers, Museum to Open By 2014

By November, the first of the four office buildings that will make up the new World Trade Center will be finished, with 1 WTC to follow in early 2014. Let’s take a quick look at where construction and development efforts stand across the rest of the site.

A rendering of the completed World Trade Center site (PANYNJ/Silverstein Properties).

Twelve years on, the redeveloped World Trade Center site is buzzing with construction activity and tourists. And, within a matter of months, it will be ready for office tenants too. Recently, in advance of another somber September 11 anniversary, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Silverstein Properties provided a brief update about the status of the ongoing construction and development efforts that will dramatically transform lower Manhattan. Here’s a quick update on each of the major projects underway at the site:

1 World Trade Center

The 3.5 million-square-foot tower topped out earlier this summer at its symbolic, 104-story, 1776-foot height. Currently 55-percent leased, with anchor tenant Conde Nast slated to occupy 1 million square feet, substantial completion is expected by first quarter of 2014. A three-story rooftop observation deck will open in 2015. Like the other office towers under construction and planned along Greenwich Street at the World Trade Center site, 1 WTC is expected to earn a LEED Gold rating from USGBC for its numerous green design and construction features.

4 World Trade Center

With much less fanfare than 1 WTC to its north, and overlooking the 9/11 Memorial to its west, the “respectful,” LEED Gold-hopeful 4 WTC is expected to open in November at 200 Greenwich Street as the new home of the Port Authority: holder of a 30-year, 600,000-square-foot lease as the 72-story, Fumihiko Maki-designed tower’s anchor tenant. Silverstein Properties owns 4 WTC thanks to a deal it made with the Port Authority in 2008, swapping development rights to 1 WTC with those for all three of the Greenwich Street towers.

3 World Trade Center

Once Silverstein finalizes a term sheet signed earlier this summer with WPP’s GroupM for 515,000 square feet, construction on the $2 billion, 71-story 3 WTC will recommence. The developer had topped out the Richard Rogers-designed tower at 175 Greenwich Street at 7 stories. It was waiting to ink an anchor tenant for at least 400,000 square feet – a requirement to tap the $1.3 billion in Liberty Bond financing it needs to complete the project. Construction on 3 WTC should finish in 2016 and will make the 2.1 million-square-foot tower the third tallest in New York City. It too will seek LEED Gold.

2 World Trade Center

Slated for 88 stories, the Norman Foster-designed 2 WTC will rise at the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site at 200 Greenwich Street. But that won’t happen until Silverstein Properties secures an anchor tenant for the tower and there is little indication that any such deal is on the horizon in the near-term. But given the recent leasing successes at 3 WTC and Conde Nast’s bold move to 1 WTC from Times Square, that could change.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Since it opened in 2011 on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, the Memorial has received over ten million visitors. But construction on the museum that’s located underneath the reflecting pools had stalled after a funding dispute. Officials are now promising that the project is back on track and will open late in the spring of 2014.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

With its striking bird-like design by Santiago Calatrava, the nearly $4 billion transportation hub will connect 13 subway lines and PATH trains to New Jersey and include two stories of retail space. The first mass transit hub ever in lower Manhattan, the project was commissioned to rival the former Penn Station and Grand Central Station and should serve nearly 250,000 people each day. Completion is scheduled for 2015.

Performing Arts Center

Construction on the 1000-seat performing arts center cannot proceed until the temporary PATH station that stands in its planned location is removed. To be designed by Frank Gehry, the facility will be home to the Joyce Theater and located at the northwest corner of Fulton and Greenwich Streets, separated at grade from 1 WTC by just sixty feet. Funding for the project is still needed, and last year a Board of Directors was appointed to begin leading those efforts, which will target a project cost of around $500 million.

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