Years late and with a higher price tag, the MTA's Fulton Center is almost here. Jose Martinez filed the following report.
It's taken nearly a decade to transform the look of the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street, and the work's not done yet.
"We're in the home stretch of the project and everyone in the area will soon be able to take advantage of the many benefits the Grand Central Terminal of Lower Manhattan has to offer,” said Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction.
He's talking about the Fulton Center, a hub conceived in the months after 9/11 that's inching toward opening next July.
On Wednesday, the City Council's Transportation Committee got an update from the MTA on the $1.4 billion megaproject that links 11 subway lines at 6 stations and which, by 2016, will connect to the Port Authority's World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
But it hasn't been easy, or inexpensive, to get to this point.
"It's disappointing that the Fulton Center's project costs have increased by millions of dollars and that the construction itself has encountered so many unforseen holdups,” said Councilman James Vacca of the Bronx.
The Fulton Center features new subway entrances, a renovation of the Corbin Center, an original Manhattan skyscraper and a showpiece glass roof. They call it an oculus that will let light reach the hub's lowest level.
We have completed its installation and it's something you really have to see in person in order to fully appreciate that,” said Horodniceanu.
One thing not included is a guaranteed return for the 150 businesses evicted when construction started.
"They were compensated to move, they received money. If they now want to come back, I think we will welcome them, but they will have to go through the same process like everyone else,” said Horodniceanu.
But for all the changes the MTA says it's making to the Fulton Center, riders say they just want the station to be less of a maze.
"You have to go upstairs, downstairs, just for one specific train,” said one commuter.
"It's a little bit confusing when you're down at the bottom, because there's a lot of arrows that point in various directions,” said another.
Others say, what's the big deal?
"I don't feel the renovations were necessary, truth be told,” said a third commuter.
At the very least, they're almost done, finally.