Here is the official transcript from the LMDC board meeting on February 11, 2021. I want this to be searchable via this website. Lower Manhattan Development Corp (totalwebcasting.com)
Hello everyone. This is Debbie Royce, LMDC's secretary.
I'd like to welcome everyone to today's meeting.
And before we formally begin, I would ask everyone to please mute your lines unless you're speaking.
We'll begin today by taking a roll call of the directors to ensure that we have a quorum present.
Please be so kind as to say present when we call your name.
Chair, Holly Leicht.
Catherine McVay Hughes.
And Carl Weisbrod.
Thanks so much, everyone, for joining today, and Chair Leicht, you can, ready to begin.
Thank you, Debbie.
I now call to order the meeting of the directors of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for Thursday, February 11, 2021.
I will ask that everyone please mute their phones unless you are ready to speak.
Also, for the record, I will ask that anyone wishing to speak, please be sure to state your name before you begin speaking.
I'd like to note for the record that due to public health concerns and as authorized by an executive order of the Governor, this meeting will be conducted by teleconference.
I will also note for the record that the public was given the opportunity to comment on the agenda item by submitting written comments at or before 4:00 p.m.
yesterday to email@example.com.
I'd like to state for the record that one comment was received from the public and it will be read during the public comment portion of today's agenda.
The directors have received the relevant materials in writing in advance of today's meeting and are free to ask questions at any time.
Before we begin with the substantive portion of the meeting, I'd like to ask the directors whether anyone has any potential conflict of interest with respect to any of the agenda items.
If so, I would ask you to please make an appropriate disclosure on the record at this time, and we'll be sure that you recuse yourself from discussion or vote on that item.
I think your muted.
There you go.
Yes, Madam Chair. I have a potential conflict of interest on the main item on today's agenda, and I will recuse myself as a result.
Okay, thank you, Carl.
Before going, conflict for Carl Weisbrod are noted for the record.
And we will move to our first order of business, which is the approval of the notice of the directors meeting of December 17th, 2020.
Does anyone have any questions, comments, additions or deletions to the minutes? Okay.
Hearing none, I will ask for a motion to approve.
Motion to approve.
All in favor? Aye.
Any opposed? Okay, thank you.
The motion carries.
Carl, we're now going to move on to that, is it for your information, you can stay and listen.
I will both recuse myself and excuse myself, and have a good meeting.
Fair enough, thank you.
Good to see you all.
I will now call upon Tom Johnson to present the Audit and Finance Committee report.
Tom, please proceed.
We're happy to have you here today.
Thank you very much.
I'm happy to be here.
The committee met three times to discuss the item that appears before this board today.
The committee was provided with an update on the status of the site 5 RFP process, proposed development plans, and the plan to conditionally designate a development team.
The committee reviewed and discussed background information regarding both the completed and pending World Trade Center site real estate transactions, which are essential to the completion of the World Trade Center redevelopment program.
It's only been about almost twenty years we've been working on this, and I'm very proud of it.
The committee also discussed plan terms and the timeline associated with the development of Site 5.
We reviewed the purpose process and selection justification in conjunction with our obligations and responsibilities regarding the furtherance of the World Trade Center redevelopment plan and completing our real estate transactions with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The committee fully supports these plans and the conditional designation of the development team presented at this meeting, and we recommend the approval by the full board of the proposed resolution.
This concludes my report, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Tom.
As this is an ongoing open procurement, I would invite directors to make a motion to enter into an executive session pursuant to paragraph H of subdivision one of Section 105 of the New York State Open meeting law, if we want to discuss the financial terms of the proposed transaction.
Does anyone make a motion to go into executive session? Okay, hearing none, we will skip the executive session opportunity and we will move into discussion of the item.
And you just heard Tom's report on the item from the Finance Committee, so what I am going to do is go through a few slides that will give some background and summarize the proposal, but before I do that, I'd like Dan to provide some background on Site 5 and the history of the site, which I think will help set context for today's action.
Dan, you're on mute. You're on mute.
I'm pretty quick with this technology, Catherine.
LMDC was created after September 11th attacks to facilitate the rebuilding and recovery of Lower Manhattan.
Vital to this mission has been ensuring the redevelopment of a diversified and vibrant World Trade Center site.
In 2004, after a long public engagement in the planning process, the LMDC board approved the World Trade Center memorial and redevelopment plan and adopted the General Project Plan for the World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Program.
These plans included the construction of a memorial, memorial museum, and cultural center, as well as improvements in commercial buildings.
The Port Authority owned the original World Trade Center site, but agreed to provide space to LMDC or its designees in order to develop the Memorial Museum and a Performing Arts Center.
An expanded site was required in order to accommodate these new elements.
Accordingly, LMDC acquired properties at 130 and 140 Liberty Street, directly to the South of the original World Trade Center site, which is referred to as the Southern site.
In 2006, LMDC agreed to transfer real property interests in the Southern side to the Port Authority in exchange for the Port Authority owned property needed for the Memorial Memorial Museum and the Performing Arts Center.
The portions of the Southern site identified as Site 5 has yet to be transferred to the Port Authority.
We have been working towards completing the last part of the planned exchange, where LMDC would transfer Site 5 or provide comparable value to the Port Authority, and the Port Authority will complete its transfer property interests to the National 9/11 Memorial Memorial Museum.
We're in that position now and we're ready to complete our plans and the related real estate transactions while making the Port Authority whole.
I turn it back over to you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Dan, for the background.
If we could share the screen, so everyone can see the slides, as I run through them, that would be great.
Okay, so as discussed, this is a conditional designation today, depending of public approval, and we are conditionally designating the highest scoring proposal.
Dan just gave a thorough background that just highlights some of the points in February of 2006, an MOU is signed between the LMDC and Port Authority to swap the Southern site, which is the site we're talking about in the Memorial and a Performing Arts Center, which is Port owned. In February 2019, an MOU was signed between LMDC and the Port Authority to agree to RFP Site 5 for either commercial or residential use, and that's notable in that the project plan had only allowed for commercial originally.
In June of 2019, an RFP was jointly released for Site 5, allowing for commercial or mixed-use with the note that is a residential plan was the highest scoring proposal, there would have to be a modification to the general project plan and it allowed for up to one point three, four, five million square feet and a maximum height of nine hundred feet, and that is in compliance with the General Project Plan.
In September of 2019, we received five proposals, and they have been under review since that time.
The RFP laid out the criteria for selection in four categories.
First, is the financial proposal, which accounted for fifty percent of the weight.
This is obviously because of, as Dan described, the purpose of compensating the Port for the swap of the land.
The second criterion is project program design and community benefit.
This looks at the program abuses and the architectural design, sustainability and benefits to the community, including the economic impact.
The third category for twenty percent is the respondent experience and execution.
This is to ensure that the team has the experience, the financial capacity, the background and qualifications to do a development of this size and nature. It's obviously a large scale site and to do it expediently.
And finally, the four categories, diversity practices for ten percent, and this is a review of the diversity practices of the respondent based on a questionnaire.
And this is scored by our NWBE team here.
The highest scoring proposal, this is an overview of the program.
It's proposed to be a one point one five billion dollar mixed-use development for a total of the amount that was the maximum in the RFP, one point three, four, five million square feet, which translates to one point five, six million gross square feet.
Of that, one point two million gross square feet will be residential rental.
That's about one thousand three hundred twenty five total units, of which twenty five percent or three hundred and thirty will be affordable at or below fifty percent on average of the area median income.
So, some will be lower than that and there will be a little higher, but I'll get to the specifics of the affordability breakdown in a minute.
Additionally, it can be up to one hundred and ninety thousand square feet of office space.
There will be a twelve thousand square foot community facility.
Fifty five thousand square foot physical cultural establishment, which is a gym, and related amenities.
And about seven thousand square feet of retail and the proposal is for a ninety nine year long term lease.
Because there is a significant residential component, this project will require a modification to the World Trade Center General Project Plan.
Regarding the affordable housing and other community benefits, as I said, twenty five percent will be affordable at or below an average of fifty percent of the area median income.
And within that, at least ten percent of the affordable units will be leased to households below forty percent of area median income.
An additional ten percent will be live at or below sixty percent of area median income and then will be above eighty percent.
The unit will be permanently affordable and it will be done through a regulatory agreement with either the city or state housing agency.
The community facility and the development team submitted letters of interest from prominent not for profit, but they will be willing to work with the community through our outreach process as part of the investigation to select what they use for that effort, for that community facility space for ultimately being.
They're, the jobs that are projected for this are approximately five thousand four hundred and twenty direct construction jobs and over nineteen hundred permanent jobs.
There will also be NWBE goals of thirty percent and six percent SCV, which is for disabled veterans goal as well.
And the project will be done prevailing wage.
This proposal comes from a team that is led by Silverstein Properties and Brookfield Properties and in partnership with the New York and Devar Development Partners, is affordable, will be the affordable housing along with the Devar and the Devar is an NWBE.
Preliminary timeline, so we are doing a conditional designation today.
In the next couple of weeks, we will execute the term sheet and the year and the environmental review process of the state secret process, as well as the federal legal process and the GPTE modification process.
This will go on until the Fall, when we hope to take this on board, the LMDC board, come back to us to take action on the modification to the GPTE and make the secret and made the determination and the authorized disposition process for Site 5 to the EFC. EFC would hold the property for the lease.
There will be a public hearing and a comment period at that time on the proposed GPTE and the Secre and then also the LMDC meeting, obviously as a public comment opportunity as well.
In the Winter of 21 or early, 2022, we anticipate that the item will come back to the board, that there will be a response to any comments received, that there's a requirement that those responded to in writing and the GPP will be changed according to that public input, so it will come back to the board to consider the public comment and then take action on the final MGPP and the disposition of Site 5.
We anticipate that by Spring or Summer of 2022 we should have final approval to move forward on closing on the property.
I think that is my last slide.
So at this point, are there any questions or comments from any directors? I think you can turn off the shared screen and we'll go back to gallery review.
I have a comment.
Yes, thank you.
As the twenty year anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site is upon us and as the only member on this board that lives in the immediate area of the site, one block from the World Trade Center site for over thirty years, I support this transaction.
It is a fitting capstone for LMDC to relocate Lower Manhattan, a vibrant, mixed use area.
This is a good project with affordable housing, which the local community board has always supported and continues to have is a top priority.
In addition to another community top priority, a new community facility, while creating good jobs at a time that is needed to pull our region out of the pandemic recession.
This is the time to move forward to complete this project in the heart of Lower Manhattan.
Thank you, Catherine.
Any other comments or questions? It's Alicia, if I may.
Thank you, Chair, for allowing me to speak and to be part of this process as the longest serving member right now from the city delegation.
We really want to thank everybody for their incredible hard work and also to put this into some context, also as a lifelong New Yorker, this is a very powerful moment for me and for all of us as well.
Moving to complete the rebuilding of the sites that make up the World Trade Center, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
It's an incredibly important milestone for the City of New York and the commitment to advance this project and make a significant investment in the city's future in this particular time of uncertainty, where we again face yet another challenge is incredibly important and shows a symbol of the city's resiliency and I think is a harbinger of our recovery.
As we talked about, that the project will create thousands of jobs and deliver hundreds of units of critically, critically needed and really affordable homes to New Yorkers, and not just for a little while, but permanently, something we can be very proud of and breaking through into really a new blueprint for New York, and something we're very proud of the city to have worked on over the past six or seven years.
The public private partnership brings really badly needed funds also to the Port Authority and the City that can be devoted to strengthening our infrastructure and our public services.
But it also reflects our real values and our commitment to making sure that MWBE businesses get to participate in these projects and that we have really, really important folks in the affordable housing community to be part of this unbelievable opportunity and a really important neighborhood where opportunities are very hard for a lot of low income people to get housing services like this.
And finally, I think we all know that the importance of this area, which is both a symbol of city toughness, right? Everything we can do, but it's also really a tribute to all of those who lost their lives in 9/11, and to their families and friends who continue to mourn them.
So I want to reiterate that I think it is critical, absolutely critical, that the design and programming of the community spaces and the way the building relates to the rest of the unbelievable work that has been done at the World Trade Center site continue to be our ongoing dialogue and be as thoughtful and visionary, as exciting as this site deserves.
As I like to say, a design matters.
What happens at the base of the building matters more people see the base of the building and get to go upstairs to live in those apartments.
And so I think it's incumbent upon all of us. And we look at the city to continue to work with the state and the port to assure that this, in fact, results in a truly great place for all New Yorkers, but thank you, and the city is very happy to be part of this partnership.
Does anyone else have any comment? Holly, I'll add just quickly, if I may, just echoing Catherine and Alicia's comments just how exciting it is.
You didn't identify yourself before---.
and Alicia have said that it's really exciting to finally see Site 5 continue to move forward.
So many people on both the state and the city and the Port Authority for so many years to advance this portion of the site and to finally see it come together actually as a residential project is also very exciting for the neighborhood and the community, and particularly at this time and for everything that the city has gone through over this past year, and for those of us who work in the industry, so forth.
It's just a real testament to see this move forward and how important it is during what is a really challenging time.
So, excited to see the symbol move forward in reality.
Any other comment? I would like to just echo what others have said.
Thank you for all the hard work that has gone into getting to this day.
Dan has always worked tirelessly to keep the businesses in LMDC moving forward and has been here from the outset and to all the members of the selection committee, this has been a long process.
And thank you for all of the care and attention that was given to it in making sure that we got the best deal and the best project possible and also to all the board members for taking this review really seriously and appreciating that this is a really important this is this is the capstone, as Catherine said.
And I think the significance of that is not lost on any on any of us.
So with that, if there are no more comments from the board, I will as I noted earlier, we received one comment from the public and I will read that comment now into the record.
The comment was made by Todd Fine, who is President of the Washington Street Advocacy Group.
Mr. Fine wrote The Washington Street Advocacy Group believes that the RFP process should be started a new criteria or reconsidered entirely in light of its citizens needs post COVID.
If the proposal represents the complete transformation of the World Trade Center into the Hudson York model, we will oppose it vigorously.
However, it is impossible to offer any further comment without knowing specifics.
Thanks for your comment, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more from you through the process.
So, I will now entertain a motion to approve the conditional designation of the team as Property, Brookfield Properties, and I'd like to remind you to please state your name before speaking.
May I have a motion.
Mehul Patel, so moved.
Second? Catherine Hughes.
All in favor? Aye.
Any opposed? Excellent, the motion carries.
Thank you all again for all the work that has gone into today and for the thoughtful comments that were delivered as well.
Is there any further business today? Okay, hearing nothing, may I have a motion to adjourn the meeting? Motion to adjourn the meeting.
All right, all in favor? I think we can all say, aye.
All right, thank you all very much.