KPF’s 5 World Trade Center tower officially approved

Piece By Piece

KPF’s 5 World Trade Center tower officially approved

Once complete, 5 World Trade Center will loom over Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine and Liberty Park. Seen here is the church in 2020. (Jonathan Hilburg/AN)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) have finally agreed on a plan for 5 World Trade Center, formerly a Deutsche Bank building damaged on September 11th and torn down in 2011.

Last night, Thursday, February 11, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board jointly voted to give the project to a team led by developers Brookfield Properties and Silverstein Properties. Their proposal? A 1.56-million-square-foot, 900-foot-tall tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF).

The mixed-use tower looks like it will be another massive addition to the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, but unlike its brethren, which thus far have been glassy office towers, for the most part, 5 World Trade Center will bring 1,325 residential rental units to the neighborhood. Of those, 25 percent, or about 330 units, will be earmarked as permanently affordable. Still, office space isn’t totally out of the picture, as 190,000 square feet of the project will be set aside for it. That will join a planned 7,000 square feet of retail space, a 12,000-square-foot community facility, and 55,000 square feet of public amenities (marked as “gym” in the presentation shown last night); clearly the powers-that-be are banking on a return to in-person experiences in the post-pandemic world.

“With this project, the LMDC will fulfill a central goal of its creation: to complete the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site,” said Holly Leicht, chair of the LMDC, in a statement. “This is the right capstone project for the campus, reinforcing Lower Manhattan as a live-work community and bringing much-needed affordable housing and a new community facility to the neighborhood. We look forward to working with the development team and the residents of Lower Manhattan to make this project a reality.”

Urbanize New York has gotten its hands on slides from the presentation before the Port Authority and LMDC boards and renderings of the $1.15-billion project show a slender tower broken into several intersecting pieces. The 160-foot-tall base, a rounded rectangle massing with heavily mullioned windows that will sit next to Santiago Calatrava’s new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, will hold all of the non-residential functions. Above that, intersecting rectangular volumes have been set back from the base to create a rooftop landscape and stacked to form the residential section of the building, the windows on these distinct portions narrowing and stretching upward.

However, as the Port Authority noted, the General Project Plan (GPP) for the World Trade Center complex had marked Site 5 as another office tower and modifying the GPP will take approval from the LMDC, “Empire State Development Board of Directors, the Public Authorities Control Board, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development,” state and national environmental approvals, and more. It will be up to the project team of Brookfield, Silverstein, Omni New York, and Dabar Development Partners to secure all of the necessary approvals (necessitating public review, meetings, and comments) before the Port Authority Board of Commissioners reviews a potential lease for the site sometime in the next six months.

5 World Trade Center will be 100 percent privately financed by the development team, and the Port Authority, if the project is approved, will award them a 99-year lease on the site. Governor Andrew Cuomo initially issued a Request for Proposals for the site on June 26, 2019; all told, the selection committee received five responses. Site 5 is the final portion of the World Trade Center complex left to be filled.

If everything goes as planned, construction is expected to begin in 2023.