A Canadian company is holding the steel needed to build the new World Trade Center’s antenna “hostage” for millions of dollars – jeopardizing the completion date for the tower and at least 100 iron-worker jobs, court papers charge.
The building reached 104 stories in August, but is expected to reach 1,776 feet when the antenna is done.
“When it is complete, the building known as 1 World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and a symbol of the recovery of New York City, New York state and the United States from the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” the Manhattan Supreme Court suit says.
But, the Port Authority’s WTC Tower 1 LLC says in court papers that it can’t happen unless ADF Steel stops trying to shake them down and ships the rest of the metal they desperately need to finish the project.
The “only remaining steel to be erected is the steel comprising the antenna structure for the top of 1 WTC Tower,” the Manhattan Supreme Court suit says.
The “unique custom pieces of steel,” including the antenna mast, antenna ring steel and roof nodes,” were supposed to begin shipping on Sept. 24, the suit says.
“ADF refuses to ship this antenna steel unless and until it receives approximately $6 million allegedly owed under another contract for another project as ransom,” the suit says.
The filing on behalf of the site’s owner, the bi-state PA, says time is of the essence.
“The schedule for completion” has “already been comprised,” the suit says – and it could get much worse soon.
If “ADF does not ship certain pieces of the antenna steel” by December, “the St. Lawrence River will freeze and bar transport of the delivery of the steel until the spring,” the filing says.
“As the project is delayed, there is an increasing risk that approximately 100 iron workers will be laid off because they will not have steel to erect, that 1 WTC will miss date-specific deadlines owed to its tenants, and the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, which has become a symbol for the city and the country, will be unnecessarily delayed for the foreseeable future,” the suit says.
It seeks a court order to force the company, which has its US headquarters in upstate Plattsburgh, to turn over the steel.
The filing does not dispute the Port Authority owes ADF money for other WTC projects, but says ADF’s contract “expressly promised not to withhold delivery of this steel so long as it received progress payments” on the antenna steel, which the PA had been dutifully paying.
A rep for ADF could not be reached. There was no listing for the company in Plattsburgh, and no answer at its parent company’s location in Toronto.
A rep for the PA declined to comment.