Port Authority offers support as Greek Orthodox Archdiocese plans to resume construction of WTC zone church

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Rendering of the stalled Greek Orthodox Church to replace the structure destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attack

The Greek Orthodox Church archdiocese believes that “construction will resume in the not too distant future” on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the World Trade Center, which stalled last December because of a lack of funding.

The original church had been destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. However, rebuilding costs have ballooned from an original 2013 estimate of $20 million to $78 million.

Recently, the Port Authority, which owns the Liberty Street land where the church is sited, said that it wants to help the church with its rebuilding efforts, the New York Post has reported.

“The Port Authority could facilitate construction based on appropriate commitments or could assemble a group to take over construction. We could also assist with redesign of the project to make it financially feasible,” Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton wrote in a letter to church leaders. “If completion is not possible, we would assist in any way possible to find an alternative configuration to complete the project.”

Debris from the second WTC tower fell on top of the original church at 155 Cedar St., destroying the four-story tower structure.  In 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leased the church the site of Liberty Park for $1 a year for 198 years.

Architect Santiago Calatrava designed a Byzantine-inspired structure that topped out last November with a 6-foot-3-inch Justinian cross.  However, cost overruns forced the project’s halt last year.

Since learning of the deficit, the archdiocese cut 25 percent of its staff and 25 percent of its expenses, hired a new treasurer and a chief financial officer, and launched an audit led by PricewaterhouseCoopers and BakerHostetler LL. According to The Post, the church has determined it will need an additional $38 million to finish the shrine.

A Port Authority spokesman said that the agency is ready to provide support but as of right now, “the construction and financial obligations for completing the project continue to rest solely with the church.”

Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox church in the US, said that “the project is on the right course and that construction will resume in the not too distant future.”

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