The Outdoors Blog

The Contentious Construction of the Time Warner Center

November 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Today, the Time Warner Center is like the second coming of One World Trade Center to many native New Yorkers. It was the first skyscraper to complete construction since the September 11th terrorist attacks, and it has become an important symbol for a city trying to rebuild after the aftermath of an incredible tragedy.

It nearly didn’t happen, or at least faced long delays before construction could begin. The land was owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which was entertaining a bid from Mortimer Zuckerman’s Boston Properties. The company wanted to build two buildings that were 63 stories in height across the 4.5 acre area. Donald Trump also attempted to bid for the land, pitching a building that would have been more than 1600 feet in height.

Boston won the bid with $455 million, but the development ran into intense opposition. A good portion of that opposition was inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who brought up concerns that it would cast long shadows over Central Park. That debate led to a court ruling declaring the initial plans did violate city zoning ordinances. Even in 2000, when the Coliseum was finally demolished, construction of the building still lagged. Construction began in 2001, just before the terrorist attacks. At the time, it was criticized for the resemblance to the Twin Towers. This was by coincidence, but the towers stood as a reminder of what New York had lost never the less.

The building is so large that it has 10 street addresses, although, Trump was quite bitter about his loss. Upon its completion, he hung a sign on Trump International Hotel that said “Your views aren’t so great, are they? We have the real Central Park views and address.”

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or Twitter.

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