More construction uproars are happening in Battery Park City. A West Street underpass will be erected between the World Financial Center, which is owned by Brookfield Properties, and the new World Trade Complex, while the Vesey Street bridge will be torn down.
However, even more distressing is that the Grand Staircase at the Winter Garden inside the World Financial Center is also being removed. The staircase, which was erected after September 11th, allows employees and tourists to move between levels of the World Financial Center and doubles as seating for free events that take place at the Winter Garden. The owners of the WFC want to tear them down and replace them with escalators to increase the efficiency of foot traffic.
Brookfield Properties are set to release their plans for updating the World Financial Center tomorrow, according to the Wall Street Journal.
We’d heard rumblings of these changes, including the plannedÂ removal of the Winter Garden Stairs. In a Batteryparkcity.com poll, an overwhelming 90% of you were in favor of saving the stairs, a sentiment shared by 32BJ SEIU, a local union whose members work at the World Financial Center. City Planning Commission chairwoman Amanda Burden and Battery Park City community board members also question the removal of the stairs, an unintended icon of our post-9/11 reality.
Brookfield maintains that the stairs need to be removed to allow for an expansive street level entrance that will connect with new PATH and subway stations at the World Trade Center.
Stairs or no, expect to see more retail offerings in the World Financial Center. Citing the population increase in Battery Park City, Brookfield would like to offer more to residents who frequent the property on nights and weekends.
Construction could begin as soon as the end of this year, with completion scheduled for 2013.