Residential Skyscraper Proposed for Last Lot at the World Trade Center

Renderings by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of the proposed tower. Its location at 130 Liberty Street is south of the September 11 Memorial Plaza and Liberty Park. Credit: Port Authority of NY & NJ and Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Feb. 15, 2021

A 900-foot-high apartment tower is proposed for 5 World Trade Center.

The Port Authority and Lower Manhattan Development Corp. announced its selection of a team led by Silverstein Properties and Brookfield Properties to develop the residential skyscraper on the 5 World Trade Center lot at 130 Liberty Street, south of the World Trade Center campus. The two real estate giants were selected among a field of five development teams vying for a project on the 33,000-square-foot site.

Silverstein Properties is the developer of four other World Trade Center sites and Brookfield Place, the office-and-retail complex run by Brookfield Properties, is across the street in Battery Park City. The development team also includes Omni New York and Dabar Development Partners.

The tower, designed by the firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is the only residential building planned at the World Trade Center. At 1.56 million square feet, it would house 1,325 rental apartments, including 330 at below-market rents reserved for households with incomes of less than 50% of the area median income. Ground-floor retail, five floors of offices, a 12,000-square-foot community space and tenant amenities would occupy the building’s 160-foot-high base. 

“This is the right capstone project for the campus, reinforcing Lower Manhattan as a live-work community and bringing much-needed affordable housing and a new community facility to the neighborhood,” Holly Leicht, chair of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., said in a statement.

How the community space will be programmed is yet to be determined. “We will work with the community over the coming months to identify exactly what use they would like,” Derek Utter, the Port Authority’s chief development officer, said during the authority’s remote board meeting on Feb. 11. “They could include things like cultural activities, educational programs or sports.” Tenant amenities, in another 55,000 square feet of space, would also be available to the public. Utter mentioned a fitness center, cafe, library and lounge, and game room as possible uses.

Although the original 2003 master plan for the rebuilt World Trade Center called for a commercial building up to 900 feet tall, much has changed in Lower Manhattan’s real estate landscape since then. Modifications to the plan require public meetings and environmental reviews, which are expected to take a year. The lease, to be finalized within the next six moths, requires approval by the boards of the two state agencies. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023.

Community Board 1 has supported a mixed-use building with below-market-rent apartments on the site. But the specter of another large residential project in the area has also raised questions about its impact on the neighborhood’s narrow streets, and on local infrastructure such as sanitation, transportation and schools. CB1 chair Tammy Meltzer said there need to be discussions about how the building “will integrate into the surrounding urban landscape of Greenwich South.

“The affordable housing and site amenities concepts are a step in the right direction,” Meltzer said in a statement, “but could go further and include farmers markets, green spaces, active and passive recreational spaces, grocery and hardware stores to enrich the immediate area.”

Now occupied by the World Trade Center command center for Port Authority Police, Site 5 is the former location of the Deutsche Bank Building, damaged on 9/11 and later consumed by a blaze that killed two firefighters. The LMDC bought the property and is turning over development revenue to the Port Authority in a swap that allowed for the Sept. 11 Memorial and Musuem and a performing arts center to be built on land that the Authority controlled.