Tuesday, January 23, 2018

World Trade Center sues steel firm for holding spire 'hostage'

NEW YORK — The agency that owns 1 World Trade Center, the skyscraper under construction in lower Manhattan at the site of the twin towers destroyed in 2001, sued a steel firm for holding "hostage" the spire that is to top the building.

ADF Steel, a structural steel fabricator, was sued over claims it failed to deliver materials as part of a separate contract fight. The parts are needed to finish the building, to be the tallest in the United States, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a complaint Friday in New York state court.

"ADF refuses to ship this antenna steel unless and until it receives approximately $6 million allegedly owed under another project, as ransom," the Port Authority said in the complaint.

At more than 400 feet, the antenna would allow the building, formerly called the "freedom tower," to reach a symbolic height of 1,776 feet, according to a website for the project. The complaint says the building will be the Western Hemisphere's tallest building and serve as a "symbol of recovery" after the original towers collapsed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

ADF had promised it wouldn't withhold steel for the spire, which costs $10 million, regardless of the previous contract dispute, according to the complaint. About 100 ironworkers could be laid off if "they have no steel to erect," the Port Authority said.

Eric Ducharme, marketing director for the Quebec-based ADF Group, didn't immediately return a call Friday seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The Port Authority asked the court for an order requiring ADF to deliver the steel.

"Due to the iconic character of 1 WTC Tower and the enormous complexities surrounding its erection, leasing and opening, money damages cannot adequately compensate for the harm ADF is causing with every passing day that it refuses to deliver the antenna steel," the lawyers said in the complaint.

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