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5 World Trade Center, With More Affordable Housing, Gets Signoff From Hochul

A rendering of the planned 5 World Trade Center building, to the right of 3 and 4 World Trade Center, which will include 1,200 residential units, 400 of which are to be income-restricted.

The first residential building at the World Trade Center can go forward after the developers struck a deal with Gov. Kathy Hochul to include 400 income-restricted apartments as part of a 1,200-unit tower.

The New York State Public Authorities Control Board approved the development plan Thursday, which Hochul announced in a press conference in Lower Manhattan.

“The resurgence of Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks is an only-in-America comeback story,” she said. “With this project, we’re about to transform an old parking lot into new homes for thousands of New Yorkers — bringing new affordable housing and community spaces to this iconic neighborhood.”

Controversy has surrounded the long-awaited project at 130 Liberty St., the site of the old Deutsche Bank building, for several years. A coalition of developers — Silverstein Properties, Omni New York, Dabar Development and Brookfield Properties — was awarded the contract in 2021, two years after the request for proposals was first issued.

Local community groups asked for all of the project’s residential units to be affordable housing, as well as providing housing to survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their families, The City previously reported. The proposals gained interest from local elected officials, resulting in an extended timeline as parties negotiated for a higher proportion of affordable units than the 25% first proposed by the developers.

The final plan dictates that a third of the 1,200 units will be reserved as affordable housing, with 20% of those units reserved for 9/11 survivors and their families. In addition to the 1.1M SF of residential space at 5 WTC, there will also be 10K SF for the nonprofit Educational Alliance and 190K SF of retail and office space. 

"I am proud to represent a community that advocates for affordable housing the way the 100 percent Affordable 5WTC Coalition has for the last three years," New York City Council Member Chris Marte, whose district includes 5 WTC, said in a statement. "Without them, we would just have another luxury tower in Lower Manhattan."

The state will contribute $60M to 5 WTC, while another $5M will come from the Battery Park City Authority’s Joint Purpose Fund. In order for the transaction to go ahead, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is asking its Board of Commissioners to grant a short-term rent deferral.

“By providing $65 million in public funding, we are ensuring that at least a third of this huge building will be affordable, while maintaining the deep affordability,” state Sen. Brian Kavanagh in a statement. “Today’s announcement should serve as an example of the progress we can make when all levels of government, the private sector, and communities work together and deliver real solutions.”

The 5 WTC deal is the second housing-related item announced by Hochul in the past two weeks, following last week's proposed 421-a replacement limited to Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood.

The announcement follows a noisy but unproductive legislative session for the city and state governments, during which elected officials failed to reach agreements over housing agendas while rents tore through previous records for months on end. Hochul’s proposed agenda included items like changes to zoning to mandate housing development, while legislators put forward measures such as good cause evictions.