By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — A mixed-used skyscraper that provides residential living and shops, along with office space, should rise on the site of the Deutsche Bank building, Port Authority executive director Chris Ward said Friday morning.
Speaking a day after outgoing deputy mayor Rober Lieber said the Deutsche site should remain a hole in the ground for a decade while the office market recovers, the Port Authority chief said he saw no reason to wait to build Tower 5.
“We’re going to have to be flexible and creative downtown,” Ward told DNAinfo. “Let’s keep our options open to create the best possible project.”
Ward was responding to Dep. Mayor Robert Lieber’s statement on Thursday that the site for World Trade Center Tower 5 could stay vacant for the next decade, until the real estate market demands additional office space there.
Ward, though, said he envisioned that Tower 5 could follow in the footsteps of the Time Warner Center, which contains offices, condos, a hotel and retail space.
If the Port Authority keeps its options open and works with developers to make the project successful, “something will happen well before 10 years,” Ward said.
Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1, said she had spoken to residential and hotel developers who were interested in building there, and she hoped affordable housing could be part of the future plan as well.
Menin said it is important to start planning now so the community is not left with “another hole in the ground” once the Deutsche Bank building finally comes down at the end of this year.
“We should not let this languish,” Menin said. “We should get ahead of the curve.”