That proposed new UN building, and the refurbishing
have been drawing a lot of attention. You know the whole thing’s “way out” — a $1.2 billion renovation — when even Donald Trump‘s saying,
“The United Nations is a mess,” the developer said yesterday, “and they’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily on this project.”
In addition to the $1.2 billion for the renovation, the proposed new building will cost $650 million, “which would be financed initially by bonds issued by the United Nations Development Corporation, a state-city corporation.” Just in case you’re thinking, well, it’s in Manhattan, it’s got to be expensive here’s what the experts have to say,
An executive managing director at the commercial real-estate firm Julien J. Studley Inc., Woody Heller, said a thorough renovation of an office building would probably cost between $85 and $160 per square foot.
. . .
Using the space figure cited in the Capital Master Plan yields a per-square foot cost of $452 for the renovation.
Some in the industry have estimated, however, that, given the dimensions of the U.N. headquarters buildings, the total square footage in need of refurbishment is probably less than 1.1 million. That would put the per-square-foot renovation costs at roughly $1,100 – more than four times the highest estimate of the experts.
The $1.2 billion cost estimate, Mr. Siegel said, was “outrageous.” He said the cost of the renovation would be nearly as much as the price of putting up a new office building – including the cost of land, which he set at a total of roughly $500 per square foot
Why should you care, you may ask? Because it’s your money,
The GAO report says it assumes the federal government will pay 22% of the $1.2 billion loan principal, because America pays for 22% of U.N. operating costs. If the total construction cost reached as high as $2.45 billion, the portion supplied by American taxpayers would be $539 million. In addition, the GAO reported: “The Secretary General anticipates that the United States will provide a no-interest loan to finance the renovation.” The United Nations has not yet accepted America’s offer of a $1.2 billion loan at 5.5% interest. According to the State Department, the offer expires September 30.
I say it’s time to shut down the building and ask the UN to move to a nicer place, say, Greenland. After all, Greenland would offer unequaled opportunities to observe global warming firsthand, and plenty of parking, too. Not as much nightlife, but less air pollution.
In the meantime, Day By Day shows the latest UN project, starring another NewYorker,
No word yet as to whether any Lebanese aunts will be sending money.