WTC Memorial Cost Close to $1 Billion

According to a confidential report compiled for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, which is overseeing fundraising and construction at the memorial, the estimated total cost for the memorial and its museum has ballooned to about $972 million. The Foundation insists it should only pay for about two-thirds of the $972 million, with government agencies funding related infrastructure. In response, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which oversees all construction on the site, has insisted that the cost must remain $500 million.

The LMDC selected the project's designer, Michael Arad, in January 2004 and originally estimated its cost at around $500 million.

The new cost estimate was produced by project management company Bovis Lend Lease on behalf of the Memorial Foundation. Bovis's report estimates the cost of the memorial and its related museum at $672 million, and the cost of related buildings and infrastructure at $200 to $300 million.

LMDC spokesman John Gallagher noted in a statement that the budget for the memorial must remain $500 million, suggesting that there might be "appropriate strategies" to build the project at that figure. He did not specify what those strategies might be.

The Memorial Foundation says the projected $672 million price for the memorial and museum was higher than anticipated because the project was more complex than originally intended, its scope was larger than foreseen, and an increased amount of construction in the area had driven up costs. The Foundation insists that $672 million, not $1 billion, is the only relevant cost estimate since the foundation "should not have to pay for site-wide infrastructure costs, which include structural systems, mechanical fit-out of the central chiller plant, and a police and emergency operations center." A source at the Foundation says that "government agencies should help offset infrastructure costs."

The Memorial Foundation has thus far raised $130 million in private donations and $200 million in committed funds from the LMDC for the memorial and museum.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.