By Matthew Fenton Battery Park Broadsheet
The long-planned Lower Manhattan Performing Arts Center — budgeted at more than $400 million, designed by Frank Gehry and slated for a 2017 opening within the World Trade Center site — is still awaiting its first dime. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which delayed for several years handing over $155 million in federal funds earmarked for the project, also announced at a September board meeting that it is not yet willing to turn over even $1 million for the organization to begin hiring staff.
Meanwhile, the Performing Arts Center project is expected to raise from private donations another $295 million to cover the remainder of its budget. But scant progress has been reported toward this goal. And the Joyce Theater dance company, the only major tenant that has committed to move into the Performing Arts Center, announced in September that it has decided to spend $24 million buying the space it has rented for decades in in Chelsea, although a spokesman denies that this will affect the group’s plans to move to the World Trade Center facility, once it is complete.
The planned location of the Performing Arts Center is near Vesey and Greenwich Streets, approximately where the entrance to the World Trade Center PATH station is now located.
(The PATH entrance is slated to move to its permanent home, within the planned Transit Hub, at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets, in 2015.) The 1,000-seat venue (along with several smaller theaters) is expected to fill a crucial niche for small arts troupes, occupying a zone between the City’s numerous tiny auditoriums, containing fewer than 500 seats, and its handful of large concert halls, offering around 5,000 seats.