A Monstrous Price Tag for the World's Most Expensive Hallway

One of the first portions of the World Trade Center PATH station has opened beneath West Street in Manhattan. The 100-foot-long pedestrian passageway provides a taste of Santiago Calatrava's design and what a seemingly unlimited budget can buy you.

1 minute read

October 31, 2013, 10:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


I guess its not surprising that the world's most expensive train station has birthed the world's most expensive hallway. "The station’s total cost — $4 billion, plus another few hundred million for temporary stations — was what most first-world cities would pay for an entire rail line," notes Stephen J. Smith. "And this single pedestrian underpass, which runs from an office complex across the West Side Highway (which, despite its reinvention as West Street, still feels a lot like a highway), looks to account for at least $100 million."

According to Smith, the "cavernous and blindingly white" passageway, which connects the future station to the World Financial Center, seems to have dodged multiple cost-cutting bullets.

"The aboveground elements weren’t so lucky," he adds. "It turns out that the record-setting sum of $4 billion didn’t even buy New York a complete Calatrava design. The light and airy bird-like structure with a retractable roof simulating flight was value-engineered down, its wings rendered immobile and its rib-like supports doubled, leading to a heavier-looking structure."

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