- Last Updated: 1:34 AM, February 1, 2012
- Posted: 11:35 PM, January 30, 2012
The Port Authority is sweatin’ on the dock of the bay.
The underground loading dock to 1 World Trade Center, future home of Condé Nast, can’t be finished in time for the media company and other tenants to use the planned 13 cargo bays to move in equipment to build out their space, Realty Check has learned.
As a result, the PA is scrambling to construct a temporary, above-ground loading dock with just five bays. The unexpected change in plans will add “tens of millions” of dollars to the cost of building 1 WTC, sources said.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that 1 WTC’s construction cost recently rose by $700 million to $3.8 billion. Now we know at least where some of that increase came from.
The temporary dock also means that workers will need to wheel equipment in and out through a door in the tower’s base, which is being clad in a glass-and-concrete facade. Although the design has yet to be shown, it’s intended as an important aesthetic element of the project and was not supposed to host cargo deliveries.
Unlike the WTC Transportation Hub nearby, which is costing nearly as much, 1 WTC is a project with a purpose: to provide state-of-the-art office facilities in a city desperately in need of them. But news of a rushed change in plans as the tower nears its 104-story height is the last thing the embattled PA, facing a scathing audit, needs.
All involved insist the dock delay won’t interfere with tenants moving into their space by late 2014 or early 2015 — or with leasing the roughly 900,000 square feet that remain up for grabs in the 3.05 million square-foot tower.
“Five bays are enough for everybody,” a source said — which begged the question of why 13 are planned.
Contrary to what’s been expected at all the new WTC towers, the temporary dock won’t connect to the underground Vehicle Security Center that the PA is building just south of the 16-acre WTC site.
Although all vehicles bound for the towers are supposed to be screened for bombs and other terrorist threats at the VSC, the NYPD — which is responsible for security at the WTC in “collaboration” with the PA — is said to have “no objection” to the above-ground dock, a source told us.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, “The NYPD has had discussions with the [PA] on how to conduct screening in the interim until access to the security facility is completed.”
Commissioner Ray Kelly in the past strongly asserted the force’s role at the site — even requiring the redesign and relocation of 1 WTC seven years ago, when it was still called the Freedom Tower.
The loading dock will be on the tower’s east side. It cannot now be connected to the VSC for a simple reason: the temporary PATH station, immediately east of 1 WTC, stands in the way of the vehicle tunnel route. So one temporary facility begets another.
The route, starting at the VSC, turns east beneath Liberty Street, then north beneath Greenwich Street — and then west through what’s now the temporary PATH terminal toward 1 WTC.
The temporary PATH station can’t be dismantled until the huge, way-behind-schedule Hub is completed — which can’t happen before 2015.
Even after the temporary train station is taken down, the PA still won’t be able to build the underground road from Greenwich Street to 1 WTC until a foundation is installed for the proposed Performing Arts Center, which would stand where the PATH station is now.
Sources said the loading dock problem wasn’t recognized until about a year ago. Why it took so long to figure it out was unclear.
Representatives for the PA and its partner, the Durst Organization, declined to comment.
Elsewhere on the 1 WTC front, it turns out that Chadbourne & Parke — reported in the Times last week as “close to” a deal to move there — has yet to even sign a term sheet.
Our sources said the law firm might indeed soon reach a non-binding, preliminary agreement with the PA and Durst for 200,000 square feet.
Although a lease might be far off, insiders were optimistic one would be signed because Chadbourne is being squeezed out its current home at 30 Rockefeller Plaza by Deloitte.