A Greek Orthodox church is suing the public agency that owned the World Trade Center, claiming that the agency isn’t following through on a deal to rebuild a church that was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.
The church claims the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reneged on a 2008 deal to rebuild its St. Nicholas Church at a new location near the church’s former spot.
According to the church, the Port Authority put forth a proposal to claim the church’s property in exchange for a piece of land down the block, in order to allow the agency to build a center to screen vehicles. The church stood to gain several million dollars in the deal. But the Port Authority says the church was asking for too much.
“After eight months of negotiations in which the demands of the Orthodox Church continued to increase over and above what was originally agreed to in 2008, the Port Authority had to make a practical decision to move on or risk further delaying the entire World Trade Center project,” the agency said in a statement. The Port Authority claims it offered $20 million in financing, and an additional $40 million to construct a Port Authority parking lot under the church. But the church wants a structure six times the size of the original plan.
“This is not about money,” countered church spokesperson Mark Arey. “This is about their commitment to rebuild the only house of worship destroyed at Ground Zero.”