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Engaging Lower Manhattan, Plans and Projects

The World Trade Center Site Master Plan – The World Trade Center Site Master Plan prepared by Daniel Libeskind of Studio Daniel Libeskind was originally selected in February 2003, and refined in September 2003. The master plan controls the placement of all components on the World Trade Center site as well as a few lots located immediately to the south of the site. The master plan features five towers spiraling upward to the Freedom Tower. In addition, the plan gives the placement of the memorial (in “the bathtub”), cultural buildings (next to the Freedom Tower and memorial), the PATH terminal (in “Wedge of Light Plaza”), and open space (various locations).

General Project Plan – The General Project Plan is the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s official plan for the 16-acre World Trade Center site. It lays out in broad strokes how and where redevelopment will take place on the site. The General Project Plan was affirmed June 2, 2004, by the LMDC. On December 16, 2004, the LMDC proposed various amendments to the General Project Plan. On April 4, 2005, the LMDC released “Finding of No Significant Impact and Determination of Non-Significance” for those amendments and other changes. The most current General Project Plan dates from May 19, 2005, and is available here.

WTC Memorial and Redevelopment Plan Generic Environmental Impact Assessment – The Generic Environmental Impact Statement is the federally required document that goes into detail about the environmental impacts of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s General Project Plan and plan alternatives. The Generic Environmental Impact Statement was approved June 2, 2004, by the LMDC board. Except for Supplemental Environmental Assessments, the environmental review process is now complete.

Selection 106 Process – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has, as required by federal law, examined both whether the World Trade Center site should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the effects of the redevelopment plan on historic resources on and around the site. The LMDC has determined that the site is eligible to be listed on the National Register and has been working on developing plans to preserve historic structures and artifacts as it develops the site. On August 27, the Coalition of 9/11 Families filed suit in federal court asking for a halt to construction at the World Trade Center site because, the coalition argues, the LMDC and Port Authority have not satisfied the requirements of historic preservation law.

East River Waterfront Study – In the fall of 2003, the city selected an international design team to produce a comprehensive master plan for the redevelopment of the East River waterfront from Battery Park to the East River Park. Goals for the redevelopment include enhanced access to and along the water’s edge, new waterfront uses and amenities, and increased open space. The master plan for the two-mile stretch of waterfront was presented for the first time to the City Planning Commission at the end of February 2005. It proposes new piers, public space and an esplanade with several pavilions. Michael Samuelian, of the Department of City Planning, of the Department of City Planning, the East River Waterfront Study at the July 21 Engaging Lower Manhattan briefing. The study is multi-phased; slide shows of the a full presentation is available online. The city expects the plan to cost $150 million and plans to ask the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the funds.

Fulton Corridor Retail and Arts/Entertainment District Plan – The Fulton Corridor Retail and Arts/Entertainment Corridor Plan considers a revitalization strategy that will provide a series of major improvements along the Fulton Street Corridor with the aim of ultimately transforming it into a river-to-river thoroughfare. These improvements may include an increase in the number of housing units; diversifying retail, arts and entertainment activity; creating new usable open spaces; and generating round-the-clock street life. These revitalization efforts are intended to be combined with the MTA’s efforts to transform the Fulton Street subway network into a state-of-the art transit hub and major point of arrival for Lower Manhattan. The plan will also have to work with the many historic properties along the corridor. The Fulton Corridor Plan was released to the public in late April 2005. A slide show presentation of the plan is also available.

World Trade Center Site Projects – The 16-acre World Trade Center site lies at the heart of the entire rebuilding process. It is owned by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which leases the land to Larry Silverstein. Numerous projects and processes are going on there simultaneously. Some include the site master plan, the site memorial, the Freedom Tower, and the new PATH Terminal. The master plan and PATH Terminal move ahead in well-defined environmental and historic review processes. All are broken down and laid out below.

For more information, visit Gotham Gazette‘s Rebuilding NYC page. Gotham Gazette has posted a transcript of a September 18, 2004, panel discussion with Daniel Libeskind, Michael Arad and Santiago Calatrava–the first panel gathering them together. The LMDC sends out an e-newsletter. The LMDC also issued a progress report in December 2004 and a construction schedule in April 2005.

Cultural Complex – The World Trade Center site will contain two buildings for cultural institutions. On June 10, 2004, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation named the institutions: the Joyce Theater International Dance Center; the Signature Theatre Company; the Drawing Center; and the International Freedom Center (cancelled in 2005). The LMDC on October 12, 2004, announced that Gehry Partners LPP, Frank O. Gehry’s firm, would design the performing arts complex for the Joyce and Signature Centers and that the architectural firm Snøhetta would design the museum, or cultural, center for the Drawing and Freedom Centers, as well as the visitors’ center for the World Trade Center site memorial.

Snøhetta’s schematic design was released May 19, 2005. Gehry’s schematic design is expected in 2006. The cultural center plans to open in 2009; the performing arts complex, in 2009 or 2010. Each building is expected to cost from $250 to $300 million, likely paid for with a mix of LMDC and private funds. The performing arts complex is said to be funded through a second phase of fund raising, following the effort to raise money for the memorial and cultural center.

Deutsche Bank Building (130 Liberty Street) – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation acquired the Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street on August 31, 2004. The building was severely damaged on 9/11, and the LMDC plans to “deconstruct” it. The site will then fall under the master plan for the World Trade Center site. Because the building is very contaminated with materials like asbestos, lead, and mold, the LMDC has been studying, in a public process, how to dismantle the building without spreading the contaminants. The LMDC’s plans have come under fire from state and federal agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the deconstruction is likely to begin only in mid-2005. The LMDC is planning to spend about $90 million for cleaning and demolition. Learn more about the LMDC activities.

Other ProjectsLower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund World Monuments Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation League of New York State, the Municipal Art Society, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy

The Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund (LMEPF), a consortium of five prominent historic preservation organizations formed in response to 9/11, works for the preservation, restoration and reuse of historic buildings in Lower Manhattan. It has given grants and technical support to historic properties affected by the World Trade Center disaster, and as redevelopment plans begin to be finalized, the LMEPF is working to ensure that planners consider the historic buildings in Lower Manhattan. Already, the LMEPF has worked successfully with the MTA to save the Corbin Building by incorporating it into the Fulton Street Transit Center. The LMEPF prepared the Corridors of Concern study, which illustrates the density and wealth of historic sites located in Lower Manhattan. The map highlights the Fulton Street, Greenwich Street and West Street corridors, all of which could be dramatically affected by post-9/11 revitalization plans.

Other Planning Initiatives

In addition to the massive rebuilding project at the World Trade Center site and other long-term projects, New York City and State, the LMDC, and others have undertaken a number of shorter-range, smaller-scale planning initiatives to provide immediate, tangible benefits for downtown residents, workers, and visitors. Many of these projects — which include the creation and renovation of downtown parks and other public spaces, improvements to the streetscape and pedestrian access, and work on buildings near the World Trade Center site — are already well under way.