Vote on 5 WTC postponed after last-minute roadblock
The “make-or-break” vote to approve plans for Five World Trade Center, which we wrote about last week, broke at the last minute.
The state Public Authorities Control Board vote that was scheduled for last Wednesday was “tabled,” in the vernacular of kick-the-can-down-the-road negotiations.
The culprit for the delay appears to be state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The all-powerful PACB is comprised of only three people with voting rights: representatives for Gov. Kathy Hochul, Assembly speaker Carl Heastie and Stewart-Cousins.
While Hochul is squarely behind the mostly residential skyscraper to be built by Brookfield Properties and Silverstein Properties, the legislative leaders are under pressure by “activists” who want the tower to have more “affordable” apartments than the 30% previously agreed on.
Said a source: “Some elected officials intervened at the last minute to stall the vote. They want to try to come up with subsidies to pay for more affordable units.”
Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, who is Heastie’s voting rep on the PACB, responded by email to our question as to who delayed the vote: “The Assembly did not vote to table WTC5. We did not request it to be tabled. It was tabled at the request of the Senate,” Zebrowski said.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie, the voting rep for Stewart-Cousins, didn’t respond to our email asking to confirm that.
Sources said that the developers and Hochul were seething over the last-minute roadblock but not surprised.
A spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation, Matthew Gorton, said: “Our plan always envisioned expanding the current level of affordability if additional funds could be identified.
“There has been a renewed focus by our public partners to engage in that effort and we are encouraged by these informal, productive conversations. But the housing crisis is only getting worse, and Five World Trade, which already guarantees hundreds of permanently affordable units, is a critical part of the solution and needs to move forward.”
A source said that Hochul and ESDC would push for another vote “as soon as possible.”
The 900-foot-tall skyscraper designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox is to rise on the site of the demolished Deutsche Bank tower at the corner of Greenwich and Albany Streets, south of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex.
It’s to have 1.2 million square feet of apartments; 190,000 square feet of offices; a 12,000 square-foot community space operated by the nonprofit Educational Alliance; 55,000 square feet of public space; and 7,000 square feet of stores.
Some 30% of the apartments, or 360 of 1,325, would be affordable rentals – up from previously planned 25%.
Brookfield and Silverstein were selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority in February 2021.