By Miriam Kreinin Souccar for Crain's New York Business: After endless debate over the final location for a performing arts center to be built at Ground Zero, the Frank Gehry-designed theater will be constructed on the originally planned site, and that below-ground construction work on the foundation will start next quarter.
The 1,000-seat theater and rehearsal facility, to be run by the Joyce Theater, a dance presenter, was originally scheduled to open this fall. After much wrangling, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has released the $50 million needed to construct the subterranean support structure for the center, which will be built in the area bounded by Fulton, Greenwich, Vesey and Washington streets near the 1,776-foot-high 1 World Trade Center.
“We are more optimistic about the performing arts center now than ever,” says Linda Shelton, executive director of the Joyce, the only group left of the four cultural organizations originally chosen by the city to inhabit the Ground Zero site.
Ms. Shelton says that final estimates for the cost of the project are still being worked out, though sources close to the Port Authority say they expect that the “arts community” will need to raise around $500 million for the center.
“Our goal is to realize the original master plan, which locates the cultural center at the heart of the site,” says Kate Levin, the city's cultural affairs commissioner. “The performing arts center is key to the area's revitalization.”
“It's not a big secret that the World Trade Center site is one of the most complex real estate development projects under way anywhere, with more than its fair share of starts and stops,” a spokesman for the mayor's office says. “But the performing arts center is an important component of the plan, we're committed to making it happen, and we wouldn't be starting construction on its foundation in the coming months if the project was in doubt.”
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