The architecture world was abuzz with excitement 10 years ago when Frank Gehry was selected to design the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, but why has the building still not materialized after all this time? According to The Wall Street Journal, the project only has $155 million in federal funding, despite the fact that construction was previously estimated at $469 million. Meanwhile, city officials and financial backers are still unconvinced that the project is vital to the WTC area.
Over the last few years, a handful of similar theater spaces have opened in NYC, including the BRIC House and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 250 seat Fisher Theatre. Karen Brooks Hopkins, president of the BAM, told the WSJ that the city might have reached a “saturation point” for these types of projects already. It’s also uncertain where governmental officials stand on the plan as Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to appoint a cultural affairs commissioner and Governor Andrew Cuomo still hasn’t appointed a representative to the center’s board.
Even worse, the project has also run into snags on the development side. The NY Times reported that Frank Gehry might not even be involved with the arts center anymore after his original design was scrapped by its president. The current site is also occupied by a temporary PATH station, which will first need to be dismantled to make room for the center. Once construction commences, the new building will have to be built like a 3D puzzle around the standing infrastructure, which include PATH train tracks, a vehicle ramp, emergency subway exits and ventilation ducts that rise more than 40 feet above street level.
via Curbed NY
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