Reconstruction of Greek Orthodox Church Smashed in 9/11 Put on Hold
- By Derek Welch --
- 30 Dec 2017 --
Skanska USA has cited non-payment of dues
Rising costs and donation mismanagement have halted the construction of the Greek Orthodox church[/tweetit] which is slated to replace the one that was destroyed during the September 11 attacks. The church has admitted to a shortage of money and is forced to hire external auditors to verify whether the funds are being managed properly or not. The Greek Orthodox archdiocese represents about 500 parishes scattered all over the United States. The number of church members is about 1.5 million. About 800 priests serve in this church.
Reconstruction of Greek Orthodox Church Smashed in 9/11 Put on Hold[/tweetthis]
This temporary halt is the latest setback for the long-delayed Santiago Calatrava designed building. The architect is known to New Yorkers for his acclaimed transit hub at World Trade Center. The hub resembles a bird in flight and costed a whopping $4.4 billion to make. The estimated bill of the church was about $20 million when the design was first made public in 2013. The plans showed a structure inspired by Turkey's Byzantine shrines. The whole building was to be sheathed in marble imported from quarries located to the north of Athens.
The cost soon jumped to $50 million by September. It went north again to the territory of $78 million after only a few months. This cost jump has prompted the archdiocese to hire two firms: BakerHostetler and PriceWaterhouseCoopers to investigate the St. Nicholas Church reconstruction. The funds to do this are being collected by donations. As per church sources, the archdiocese is also reviewing its funding strategy.
The construction company entrusted with building the shrine, Skanska USA, said that it has stopped activities after it has not received timely payments. The company said that payment deadlines were already pushed back and it took the decision after the company failed in its attempts to discuss a number of viable alternative strategies so that the project can continue as planned. Tom Webb, the Executive Vice President of Skanska USA, in his statement said, "We are confident that they will find the funding to complete this work at some point in the future."
The Greek Orthodox church gets its funds through multiple donation channels. The list includes not only members of Greek Orthodox church, but also from the Government of Greece. Donors also include Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and Bari, a city in Italy. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Bari.