Is 6 the Charm for WTC Arts Center?

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By josh rogers

The idea of a cultural building at the World Trade Center has at times been likened to a forgotten orphan, but the idea inched further away from fantasy and closer to reality last week when it unofficially got something its WTC brothers and sisters have always had: an address.

Though the site for the proposed Performing Arts Center was determined years ago, it has usually been identified as "PAC" on WTC maps.

Tom Goodkind, a member of Community Board 1's WTC Committee, said that with 7 WTC open across the street, there is a missing number that should be reserved for the PAC.

"That should be a 6," he said at a committee meeting on Monday, Jan. 9. "It's just logical."

Glenn Guzi, a program director at the Port Authority, which owns the WTC, agreed, saying "unofficially," the Port considers the arts building to be at 6 WTC.

The original 6 WTC was the smallest building in the complex and housed the U.S. Customs House before it was destroyed in 2001.

The Center got a bigger boost three weeks ago when Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairperson of the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, named five members to a fundraising board.

They are Julie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1; Christy Freer, CEO of Vidicom, whose husband was killed on 9/11; Larry Silverstein, the WTC developer; John Zuccotti, co-chairperson of Brookfield Properties; and Zenia Mucha, executive vice president of the Walt Disney Company.

The move was made to free up $100 million of Lower Manhattan Development Corp. money, which was conditioned on the city and state creating a PAC board. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not named any members to the board.

Each board member has promised to raise $5 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, and will serve with Dep. Mayor Patricia Harris, an ex-officio member who has not made a pledge.

The LMDC had previously committed $55 million to the PAC. Bloomberg administration officials first said they would take the lead role in getting the PAC built in 2006, but little progress was made as fundraising and construction priorities centered on the WTC Memorial and train station.

The 2003 site plan for the WTC designed by Daniel Libeskind included several arts buildings as a buffer between the memorial and office buildings, but over the years, content objections raised by some 9/11 family members ,as well as the competition for space, reduced the size of the cultural center.

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