092608wtc.jpgResponding to pressure from Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg, the Port Authority is promising to finish the 9/11 memorial in time for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack that felled the twin towers. In June, Paterson said the redevelopment of the 16-acre site was over budget and behind schedule, and he ordered the Port Authority to hammer out a plan to get at least part of the job done by 2011. Port Authority officials had called that an impossibility, but sources tell the Times that Port Authority director Christopher Ward will release a report on Thursday outlining a way to finish the $610 million memorial in two years and eleven months. (See the renderings.)

The 2011 deadline is possible, sources say, because officials have bowed to pressure and simplified the design for the vast transit mezzanine to be built under the northeast corner of the memorial plaza. According to Crain's, the agency will add four to six columns to an underground mezzanine that architect Santiago Calatrava envisioned as an airy concourse. The alteration could shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the PATH transit hub, which is estimated to cost $2.5 billion to $3.6 billion, give or take a billion.

The Port Authority will also re-prioritize the order in which the 26 separate projects at the site are finished, pushing back the opening of the transit hub to 2014, delaying the completion dates of three office towers, and opening the 9/11 museum, which would be underground, in 2012. Meanwhile, developer Larry Silverstein is still waiting for the Port Authority to turn over land at the World Trade Center site so that he can move forward with building Tower 2. The property was supposed to be transferred by June 30. Now the Port Authority is expected to miss a September deadline as well, while continuing to incur a $300,000-a-day penalty. If the Port Authority fails to hand over the site by the end of October, the penalties will be more than $40 million, the Sun reports.