Construction halted at church destroyed in Sept. 11 attacks

Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

FILE- In this Aug. 10, 2017 file photo, construction workers adjust a temporary cross on the St. Nicholas National Shrine in New York. Work on the Greek Orthodox church destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks next to the World Trade Center memorial plaza has been temporarily suspended by the construction company. It comes amid financial difficulties and questions over how funds have been managed.

NEW YORK — Construction on a Greek Orthodox church to replace one that was crushed in the Sept. 11 attacks has been temporarily suspended amid rising costs and questions over how donations have been managed.

The St. Nicholas National Shrine next to the World Trade Center memorial plaza was to replace a tiny church that was obliterated by the trade center’s south tower.

The new building was designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, who also created the soaring white bird-like mall and transit hub nearby called the Oculus.

But unlike the transit hub, built largely with federal transportation dollars, the church is being funded through donations including from the Greek government, Greek Orthodox church members around the world, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the Italian city of Bari, whose patron saint is St. Nicholas.

In September, the estimated cost was $50 million. But according to The New York Times , which first reported the work suspension, the cost had jumped to an estimated $72 million to $78 million as of earlier this month.

Two firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers and BakerHostetler, had been hired to perform an independent investigation into the construction, according to a Dec. 9 statement posted on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of…

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