SOURCE: Byzantine, TX Blog
(Crain's New York) - The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said Friday that a Greek Orthodox Church destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 can rebuild directly across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center, ending a two-year impasse after Gov. Andrew Cuomo intervened.
The Port Authority had originally rejected a deal to allow the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to rebuild its St. Nicholas Church on the site of the former Deutsche Bank building, saying the church had dragged its feet, asked for too much and threatened to delay World Trade Center construction.
The Port Authority said the church was offered, but never accepted, a deal worth $20 million, plus $40 million in subsurface infrastructure improvements, to move it to 130 Liberty St. The church, however, contended that the Port Authority had abruptly walked away from negotiations, first undertaken with the blessing of former Gov. George Pataki, just as they were wrapping up.
The Port Authority said the church could rebuild at its original 155 Cedar St. address. Instead the church sued, portraying itself in court and in the media as a David bullied by Goliath.
“If it had been a Roman Catholic Church or a Baptist church destroyed on 9/11, we wouldn't be feeling the bullying we're getting from the Port Authority,” Father Mark Arey, a spokesman for the St. Nicholas Parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, told Crain's last year.
The Port Authority said it could not allow the church to rebuild at 130 Liberty St., even if it wanted to: Steel had been ordered for the $600 million Vehicle Security Center below the site, and it could not hold the weight of a new, bigger church without delaying World Trade Center construction and jeopardizing $150 million already committed to contractors working on the vehicle center.