Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was formed in November, 2001, after the September 11 attacks, to plan the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan and distribute nearly $10 billion in federal funds aimed at rebuilding downtown Manhattan.
It was founded by then-Governor George Pataki and then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The LMDC is a joint State-City corporation governed by a 16-member Board of Directors, half appointed by the Governor of New York and half by the Mayor of New York. As a result, Pataki and Giuliani appointees dominate the LMDC. Its original chairman was John C. Whitehead, a former Deputy Secretary of State and head of Goldman Sachs.
LMDC does not own the World Trade Center site and this has created some problems in its dealings with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Larry Silverstein, who has a lease to the site. It is a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, which is a state authority used to implement various projects in the state that are not subject to Legislature or voter oversight.
The LMDC was funded through the disbursement of Community Development Block Grants-amounting to $2.783 billion—approved by the federal government in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and resultant destruction of much of lower Manhattan's economic and structural base.
Reconstruction plan and memorial design
In February 2003, the LMDC chose Daniel Libeskind's master plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center complex. The organization also sponsored the international design competition for the World Trade Center Memorial, which resulted in Michael Arad and Peter Walker's Reflecting Absence being chosen as the winning design in January 2004.
Having distributed its funds, the LMDC in July 2006 announced plans to dissolve and transfer its responsibilities to other existing agencies and foundations, including the W.T.C. Memorial Foundation, and the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.
Two members of the LMDC's board have asserted that up to $45 million allocated to the LMDC from a "community enhancement" fund in May 2005 has not been directly accounted for, and that up to $15 million from that stipend might have been spent in areas other than those it had been explicitly stipulated for.
Responses to criticism
Former Attorney General Democrat Eliot Spitzer became Governor in 2007, rethought his condemnation, and announced a "reinvigorated LMDC" that would continue the revitalization of Lower Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg welcomed the Governor's renewed interest at the time. However, in September 2008, Mayor Bloomberg condemned the LMDC as a contributor to a slower progress in rebuilding and he demanded dissolution of the LMDC.
The LMDC obtained an engraving for its 9/11 Memorial endeavors in 2005. Listed as U.S. Patent D506,860, it is an Engraving for a National Memorial registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- "GOVERNOR AND MAYOR NAME LOWER MANHATTAN REDEVELOPMENT CORPORATION"
- "Shifting dollars, debatable legacy as L.M.D.C. approaches its final days"
- Bagli, Charles V. (September 11, 2008). "Mayor Seeks to Disband Lower Manhattan Panel". nytimes.com.