The six plans vary on the
size of the memorial and the exact site of the office
buildings, the retail space and a new permanent PATH station
linking New Jersey with Lower Manhattan and the city's subway
system, according to several people who have seen the
Designs by David
Childs, the architect for Mr. Silverstein and Westfield, call
for five office towers, cultural and community buildings, a
five-acre memorial and a vast retail complex, partly
shopping could conflict with the desires of those who would
prefer more curbside stores to enhance street life. The plans
also conflict with suggestions to move the PATH station
eastward to Church Street, where it would allow for expanded
trains to and from New Jersey and greater links to the city's
"Too much of the
planning and thinking has been driven by the short-term
demands of Silverstein and Westfield, rather than good
planning for Lower Manhattan," said Craig Whitaker, an
architect who teaches urban planning at New York University.
Mr. Whitaker and 11
urban planning students tackled many of these issues in a
report, "Next Steps, Hard Choices," that calls for
restoring most streets across the site, with seven office
buildings along Vesey and Church Streets. Seven smaller
buildings, which combine retail and cultural institutions at
the ground level and apartments above, would ring a memorial.
That would provide a more fitting context for the memorial,
Mr. Whitaker said, than tall office towers would.
The proposal also calls
for moving the PATH station to Church Street and depressing
West Street from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel north to Chambers
Street. The street above the highway would have a grassy
median like Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. A garage for
tourist buses could be built beneath the memorial.
declined to comment on the specifics, but he said he had
confidence in the process. "It appears that the aim of
all this is accomplish the best development plans for the 16
acres," he said.
The blueprint for
rebuilding Lower Manhattan will take shape in the next five
months. The Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development
Corporation are expected to winnow the proposals to three in
September and adopt a final plan in December, which may or may
not resemble the original proposals.
In the meantime,
Imagine New York, a network of civic and community
organizations that has planned a series of meetings to
generate discussion on the topic, has invited 5,000 people to
a discussion on July 20 of the six proposals and alternatives
at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The group hopes to
have an impact on the final plan.
"This all started
with a series of constraints, not a blank slate," said
Holly Leicht, co-director of Imagine New York and director of
design, planning and advocacy for the Municipal Art Society.
"We have to live
with the fact that the Port owns the land and Silverstein has
a lease. But I hope it's still open-ended enough for planners
and the public to weigh in in a meaningful way."
One downtown landlord
said it remained unclear whether both residential and
commercial development would occur on the site because of Mr.
Silverstein's legal dispute with his insurance company over
If he wins his case
against his insurers and gets $6.7 billion, Mr. Silverstein
brings too much money to the redevelopment plan to ignore. If
he loses, he will receive $3.5 billion, and some real estate
executives and state officials say the Port Authority could
reach a settlement with him and scrap the contract and its
requirements for office space, retail space and the hotel.