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NEW YORK CITY-New York City Council member Alan Gerson yesterday told attendees at the 35th annual Building Owners and Managers Association conference, held at the Marriot Marquis hotel, that part of the 11 million sf of office space originally mandated for World Trade Center site plans may be moved into Chinatown to establish an “Asia Pacific trade center.” He also claimed the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan would be “mostly done” by 2012, when the Olympics may descend upon the city.

“There was formerly a requirement for 11 million sf of office space, and we are now exploring a range of options starting at 6 million sf,” said Gerson. The City Council and several local resident groups are scheduled to present a redevelopment proposal to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. “within the next few weeks,” he said. Additionally, Gerson told attendees that multifamily construction will likely not be included in future plans. “I’m not quite sure we’re going to have residential housing on the site as this moves forward.”

Gerson’s assertion that no residential would be put build on the WTC site is concurrent with the current high-bulk commercial zoning for the area. The LMDC can, however, vote to override that zoning.

The proposal for the city to exchange land with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is apparently also off the table. Melinda Katz, chair of the City Council’s Land Use Committee, denied that the swap is still an option. “It has not moved forward,” said Katz. “I’m not sure it would be workable.” Katz said the idea failed because it “came out in the press sooner than it was supposed to.”

Christopher Stienon of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP, told the audience that the firm’s redevelopment plans were continuing on schedule “but have moved into stealth mode.” The forerunner of these plans, said Stienon, would be a full-length tunnel below West Street, “effectively opening up east-west lines of transport for pedestrians Downtown,” an idea concurrent with an LMDC statement in April that the street “presents a formidable barrier to pedestrians.”

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