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Otie Dec 30, 2011 5:57 AM

NEW YORK | Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center (WTC)
Arts Center at WTC Takes Step Forward
By JENNIFER MALONEY | December 30th, 2011


A board of directors was named Thursday for a Frank Gehry-designed performing-arts center planned for the World Trade Center site, two days shy of a deadline for the venue to remain eligible for $100 million in funding.

The all-star board includes World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, Brookfield Office Properties Co-Chairman John Zuccotti and First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris, said Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum foundation, which will support the arts center board in its infancy.

The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that the fate of the arts center was in limbo as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had lined up willing board members, waited for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to select an appointee.

Mr. Cuomo still hasn't named a representative, and he isn't required to. But the announcement of six board members clears the way for the arts center to receive $100 million in federal funds through the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., said David Emil, the corporation's president.

Supporters of the arts center Thursday said they are optimistic the governor will appoint a board member. "At some point, we expect the governor, when he feels it's the appropriate time, to lend his support by naming a designee," Mr. Daniels said.

Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for the governor, didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The other board members named Thursday are Vidicom founder and CEO Christy Ferer, whose husband died in the attacks; Community Board 1 chairwoman Julie Menin; and Zenia Mucha, executive vice president of Walt Disney Co.

The selection of Ms. Harris, Mr. Bloomberg's most trusted adviser, signals the mayor's strong support for the project. Mr. Bloomberg is chairman of the 9/11 memorial foundation.

The LMDC board in 2006 allocated $55 million for the project and last year approved an additional $100 million, on the condition that a board of directors form by the end of 2011. The arts center board became a source of tension between aides to the mayor and the governor. Their surrogates are also involved in a funding dispute over the 9/11 museum, which Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged Thursday wouldn't open on Sept. 11, 2012, as it had been scheduled to.

The arts center board members—with the exception of Ms. Harris, who was named an ex-officio member—have agreed to raise $5 million each for the arts center.

The arts center's 1,000-seat theater would fill a void in the city's cultural landscape, providing a venue for performing groups that can't take on the financial risk of trying to fill the city's larger theaters.

Because the city has no midsize theater designed for dance and other performing arts, many of the world's best dance companies have no place to perform here, said Kate Levin, the city's cultural-affairs commissioner. "This is a really important project for the city," she said.

The Joyce Theater, which presents modern dance, has been named as a future tenant. The space is also expected to host cultural and community events ranging from film screenings to college graduations.

Ms. Menin called the venue "a vital economic revitalization project for lower Manhattan and for the city of New York." She said, "It will create construction jobs and long-term jobs" and provide a cultural destination for tourists, residents and office workers in lower Manhattan.

Supporters said the arts center will play an important symbolic role as the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is rebuilt. "Life, and beautiful life, goes on in the wake of something that was so tragic," Mr. Daniels said.

The 9/11 memorial foundation's founding mission included the creation of a performing-arts center, Mr. Daniels said. The foundation applied Thursday for federal nonprofit tax status for the new organization, which ultimately will be a separate institution, he said.

The new board will meet in January to begin recruiting more board members and developing a fund-raising strategy, Mr. Daniels said. Mr. Emil said the new board members "have the potential to be a very powerful force for the project. I think it's an important step forward."

WTC Arts Board Members Named Averting Massive Funding Loss
December 29, 2011 9:14pm | By Julie Shapiro, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer


LOWER MANHATTAN — Mayor Bloomberg named five people to the Word Trade Center performing arts center board Thursday, a last-minute move that averted the loss of millions of dollars in funding for the long-delayed institution.
The board members are: Christy Ferer, founder of video content provider Vidicom; Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1; Zenia Mucha, executive vice president of the Walt Disney Company; Larry Silverstein, president of Silverstein Properties; and John Zuccotti, co-chairman of Brookfield Properties.
First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris will also serve on the board as Bloomberg's representative.
The mayor's down-to-the-wire appointments came just days before the year-end deadline for creating the arts center's board.
If the board wasn't in place by the end of 2011, the performing arts center could have lost most of the $155 million it has received.
"It's critical," Menin said of the timing of the appointments. "The PAC is a vital project for Lower Manhattan. It will create immediate construction jobs…and it will create economic revitalization for the area."
The board will be responsible for raising another several hundred million dollars and overseeing the center's programming, Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, said in a letter announcing the appointments Thursday.
The memorial foundation, which Bloomberg chairs, was the group responsible for picking the arts center's board, the mayor's office said.
The performing arts center has been part of the overall plan for the World Trade Center for years. The Joyce Theater, a SoHo-based dance company, signed on to anchor the planned 1,000-seat theater, and famed architect Frank Gehry drafted a boxy terraced design for the building.
But fundraising for the center never began, and its construction kept getting pushed further into the future, because of delays to other projects at the World Trade Center site.
The arts center is slated to rise at Greenwich and Vesey streets, where the temporary PATH entrance currently stands. Construction on the PAC cannot begin until that entrance is demolished, which won't happen until Santiago Calatrava's winged transportation hub opens just to the east in another several years.
Menin and others in the community have pushed for the PAC to be moved to a different site south of the World Trade Center, where it could rise sooner.
In the past, the Port Authority has not been receptive to that idea, but Daniels' letter lists the PAC's location as one of the issues the new board will examine.

ardecila Dec 30, 2011 6:50 AM

Any chance they can dump Gehry?

His New World Symphony in Miami is actually pretty decent, but the models of the New York project were just atrocious.

Rizzo Dec 30, 2011 3:36 PM

Oh wow, I'm happy to hear progress is being made on this, at least from an organizational standpoint.

Don098 Dec 30, 2011 4:52 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5532213)
Any chance they can dump Gehry?

His New World Symphony in Miami is actually pretty decent, but the models of the New York project were just atrocious.

Agreed...a re-design is needed BADLY. It was one of the worst designs I've ever seen in my life just by itself, but in the context of the surrounding buildings, it was horrifying.

NYC GUY Dec 31, 2011 7:44 AM

The original Gehry design looked like it belonged in the jungle.

ardecila Dec 31, 2011 10:14 AM

Well, check out the Miami project I mentioned... Gehry still plays around with crazy forms, but they are inside of a beautiful, simple glass and steel box. It's like Frank Gehry and Richard Meier teamed up.

Something like that could be beautiful at the WTC, where the boxy modernist enclosure acts as a go-between that transitions between Gehry's funkiness and the strait-laced office towers of Lower Manhattan.

The park in the Miami project is probably not feasible in NY, but it's also a really cool element... just like at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, Gehry tries to democratize the performances so that even people without expensive tickets can enjoy the performance. In Miami, the building has a huge blank white wall facing the park where performances are projected and the audio is re-broadcast through a series of sound sculptures placed in the park. AFAIK the park is open to the public, so anybody can come enjoy.
flickr/Brule Laker

NYguy Jan 3, 2012 1:02 PM

Gehry's earlier working model...
A preliminary design of the performing arts center slated to be built at the World Trade Center site.

Hed Kandi Jan 5, 2012 2:13 AM


Originally Posted by nyc guy (Post 5533247)
the original gehry design looked like it belonged in the jungle.


animatedmartian Jan 5, 2012 3:13 AM

You notice there's a car turned sideways on the road next to the model. I assume the driver was amazed, but not in a good way. :P

I would think that was something he didn't spend a whole lot of time on, but then again...REDESIGN! :yuck:

Otie Jan 5, 2012 4:10 PM

From Downtown Express


Founding board set for W.T.C. Performing Arts Center
January 4, 2012 BY ALINE REYNOLDS

The World Trade Center Performing Arts Center is one step closer to becoming a reality. Last week, National Sept. 11 Memorial President Joe Daniels announced the nomination of five founding board members for the P.A.C. — a necessary action taken to avoid potentially losing $100 million in funds that were previously earmarked for the creation of the center.

For the P.A.C.’s board of directors, National 9/11 Memorial Board Chair, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the other memorial board members, chose Christy Ferer, chief executive officer and founder of Vidicom; Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin; Silverstein Properties chief executive officer and president, Larry Silverstein; John Zuccotti, co-chairperson of Brookfield Office Properties; and Zenia Mucha, vice president of the Walt Disney Company. First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris will also join the board, representing Bloomberg as an ex-officio board member, according to the Mayor’s press office.

The P.A.C. board, which will begin meeting in the coming weeks, is tasked with fundraising for the center as well as making collective decisions with respect to programming and expenses for the facility, according to the National 9/11 Memorial. The board will also finalize the P.A.C.’s location, the subject of heated discussion in recent years.

The board member appointments had to be made prior to Dec. 31, Daniels explained, in order to meet one of the requirements set out by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency handling the allocation and distribution of the federal funds. The $100 million grant, which was originally intended for utility companies that suffered economically from 9/11, was ultimately allocated to the P.A.C. in fall 2010.

“As you know, a performing arts center has been part of the W.T.C. Master Plan since its inception in 2003 as a key element in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” said Daniels in a Dec. 29 letter to L.M.D.C. President David Emil. “Over the past several years, the L.M.D.C., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the City of New York have worked in collaboration to develop a plan for making the P.A.C. a reality.”

The majority of the funds will finance the P.A.C.’s construction, while $1 million will go toward administrative operations, according to Emil. An additional $60 million previously designated for the P.A.C. will finance the design of the facility by architect Frank Gehry — one-sixth of which has already been spent.

Emil said of the P.A.C. board’s formation, “I believe the 9/11 attacks were in the broadest sense an attack on American culture, and that therefore it is important that American art and culture be represented on the site.”

Emil wouldn’t say whether the $100 million in funds would have been immediately reallocated to another project had the founding board of directors not been formed by the end of the year, though an L.M.D.C. spokesperson said that, historically, the agency has granted deadline extensions to certain funding recipients.

Menin, who helped secure the $100 million for the P.A.C., nevertheless applauded Bloomberg and the National 9/11 Memorial for selecting the P.A.C. board members by the Dec. 31 deadline.

“It shows the project is indeed a priority and has come from the backburner to the front burner,” said Menin. “Now that we have the founding member board in place, we need to [take] all the steps required to make this project happen.”

Menin continued, “I think it’s a very strong board, and I look forward to working with all of them. I think each board member brings particular expertise and vision to the board, and I’m very pleased and honored to be a part of it.”

The other board members could not be reached for comment by press time.

Menin, a strong proponent of the less costly Tower 5 site, the former Deutsche Bank building, said she wasn’t privy to recent discussions about the siting of the center, nor was she told exactly when the board would convene for the first time.

“It’s my understanding that the board will be charged with looking at the site location, but we have not been given any indication as to whether or not other options would indeed be considered or not,” said Menin. “If [the Tower 5 site] is not an option, then we will need to move forward with a current location.”

In a written statement, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he was “enormously pleased” about the board’s formation and, particularly, that the board includes a local community representative.

“This is a crucial step in our efforts to build the world-class cultural center that our Lower Manhattan community was promised,” said Silver. “I look forward to the board beginning the important work of raising the necessary funds to build this Performing Arts Center, which I know will be a crown jewel in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.”

The Joyce Theater, a dance company based in SoHo, is the center’s only current tenant slated to operate the 1,000-seat theater. A spokesperson for the theater couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

NYguy Jan 5, 2012 10:45 PM

WTC Performing Arts Center Makes Its Debut with John Zuccotti

Jan 5, 2012
By Matt Chaban


While Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo fight over the fate of the 9/11 museum, which almost certainly won’t open as planned on September 11, 2012, the 9/11 Memorial Foundation quietly announced some good news at the end of December. The foundation has selected a five-member board for the still very much up in the air ground zero cultural center.

The move is largely logistical, according to Downtown Express, which first reported the arrangement. If a board had not been selected, the project would have forfeited $100 million in funds from the essentially defunct LMDC.
The board is made up of many of the people one might expect: the mayor, who also chairs the foundation, World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, CB1 chair and downtown dogooder Julie Menin, now-very-famous Brookfield co-chairman John Zuccotti and Zenia Mucha, vice president of the Walt Disney Company. Maybe The Lion King is thinking of joining the Joyce as an anchor at the new theater.

The funds would not necessarily have been reallocated if the deadline had not been met, according to Downtown Express, but the foundation did not wish to run that risk.

Dac150 Jan 8, 2012 5:30 PM

I have faith in Bloomberg that he'll get the museum and this cultural center where they need to be. It's amazing, yet not all that surprising, how something like the 9/11 museum is caught up in a financial cross-fire . . . I guess somebody has to eat the cost though . . .

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NYguy Feb 9, 2012 5:08 PM

Ground zero money sump

February 8, 2012


If nothing else, Tuesday’s Port Authority audit focused a fresh spotlight on the enormous construction costs attending preparation work for some of the elaborate projects intended for the World Trade Center site. Most of those projects are defensible (even if their price tags are not).

A conspicuous exception is the planned performing arts center — an unaffordable, redundant impediment to timely completion of the overall project. And when you fully digest the numbers — and consider how wholly unnecessary the center is — you come to one inevitable conclusion: It needs to be scrapped, pronto.

Start with the PA report: It cited some $200 million in costs for work being done to facilitate construction of the center. Two things:

* That money would be better spent on pressing PA needs — fixing crumbling bridges and tunnels, for instance.

* History suggests the center will never pay its own way — becoming, rather, a black hole for city and other public funds.

The PA hopes to be repaid for that work . . . one day, presumably by the arts center — though who knows if it will even be built, let alone fork over any funds. Keep in mind, this is a project that — more than 10 years after 9/11 — still exists mainly in the minds of its proponents. It was only six weeks ago that a board for the center was formed — and its backers have yet to create a nonprofit entity to run it.

What will the center consist of? That’s anyone’s guess; there’s no final design in place. Which is also why no one knows its final price tag — which likely means even more upward pressure on tolls, given that the cost for the nearby National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum is now pushing a breath-taking $1 billion.

aquablue Feb 9, 2012 5:24 PM


Originally Posted by NYguy (Post 5583906)

Ground zero money sump

February 8, 2012

The Post sucks!

NYguy Feb 9, 2012 5:46 PM


Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5583933)
The Post sucks!

Call it what you will, but if you've been paying attention to the news with the Port Authority lately, none of it has been great, and lot of it revolves around money issues, mostly the PA running out of it.

I believe that Downtown should get the new PAC, but it doesn't have to be at the WTC site, particularly when you look at the risk of us not getting what should be built there (office tower, memorial, etc.). I've always looked at the site between towers 1 and 2 as a good location for the hotel that was originally supposed to be part of tower 2. Hotel space could even be built above the PAC, if it were part of the plan. But it's all about the costs.

THE BIG APPLE Feb 16, 2012 4:55 AM

When did downtown have an OLD Performing Arts Center, that a new one should be built (not that I'm complaining).

NYguy Feb 16, 2012 1:15 PM


Originally Posted by THE BIG APPLE (Post 5592653)
When did downtown have an OLD Performing Arts Center, that a new one should be built (not that I'm complaining).

The Performing Arts Center that is being planned will be new. There's a PAC at Manhattan Community College, but a dedicated PAC in a city of cultural institutions is lacking Downtown.

THE BIG APPLE Feb 16, 2012 9:33 PM

I know Downtown NEVER had a Performing Arts center, before I was just stating it that way, to express the point of 'Is there a need for a Performing Arts Center?'.

Roadcruiser1 Feb 16, 2012 10:41 PM

I believe this building should be called WTC Building 6 to complete the number of buildings at the WTC. They have One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Seven, but no Six.

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