New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is apparently calling in some favors in order to light a fire under the delayed construction of a Greek Orthodox church at Ground Zero.
“He wants the church finished,” supermarket tycoon John Catsimatidis, one of the seven, told the New York Post.
What was once called the Cedar Street church was destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine project ground to a virtual halt in December 2017 when the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese ran out of funds for what has been called an $80 million project.
The church is under construction as part of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. It is being developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Originally scheduled to be completed in 2017, the church’s construction has stalled.
The church is located in Liberty Park, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Its dome is inspired by the world-famous Byzantine Church of the Savior in Edirnekapı, Istanbul. It will contain a meditation/bereavement space and a community room housed in the upper levels above the Narthex “to welcome visitors and faithful.” According to its official website, the new “Saint Nicholas would welcome all and be a House of Prayer for all people.”
According to reports, it will replace the original church of the same name located at 155 Cedar Street, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001 when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.It was the only building not part of the World Trade Center complex to be completely destroyed as a result of the attacks, although the Deutsche Bank Building next door was later demolished due to severe damage and contamination.
According to the Archdiocese, another $40 million, give or take, is still need in order to finish work on the church. Questions have been asked about some of the money already raised, which some claim has been used by the church for other matters. An investigation is said to be underway.
It was last December that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America released a statement saying that it has resumed construction of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in Manhattan. The Archdiocese then hired PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services LLC (PwC) to investigate the project’s finances. The ensuing PwC report confirmed that all expenditures from St. Nicholas funds were indeed used for the rebuilding of the church, and donor restrictions had been followed to the letter.
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