Banking Giant to Open New Spaces for Local Events, Maybe Evacuation, Too

Rendering of Citi's planned 450-seat auditorium that will have an entrance on Hubert Street. "Our CEO grabbed me and wants to upgrade some of the AV equipment so we can participate in the Tribeca Film Festival," said John Krush, the Citi executive in charge of the building's reconstruction. Rendering: Citi/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 

Mar. 25, 2017

Citi’s six-year, $2 billion reconstruction of its global headquarters in Tribeca may include an unplanned community amenity.

Emergency shelter.

Executives from the banking giant revealed this month that as part of its massive ongoing project, a 450-seat auditorium plus large meeting space for potential public use will occupy a portion of the building’s ground floor, with a separate entrance on Hubert Street. In a presentation to Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee, Citi’s John Krush, the managing director in charge of the project, called the theater and meeting rooms among “a few things we can contribute to the community,” a place where local events could be held.

Krush also extolled the extensive storm protection measures of the project, with the buildings being outfitted with plenty of emergency power and fortified against flooding. “We are so resilient,” he told the committee.

All of this led Elizabeth Lewinsohn, chair of the committee, to say, “You should look into an evacuation center for residents of the area. Maybe it’s a crazy idea and I don’t know what you would need for something like that but it sounds like you’re already pretty much prepared.”

“It would be wonderful with this auditorium even to just have people assemble there to be taken to shelters,” added Jean Grillo, a public member of the committee and chief of Tribeca’s Community Emergency Response Team. She noted that the nearby Independence Plaza residential complex has no backup generators and lost electricity after Superstorm Sandy. Indeed, many of the buildings west of Greenwich Street were flooded and without power. One person in northern Tribeca died.

“It’s an absolutely great thought,” replied Gerald Jennings, Citi’s director of government relations. Krush said he would “work with our security team” on the idea.

The auditorium portion of the construction, which Krush said will have a green room, “all kinds of prep area,” and high-end AV equipment for potential Tribeca Film Festival screenings, is expected to be completed sometime in 2019. “We will be able to have some pretty substantial events there,” he said.

No decisions have been made on the cost or other details on how it will be made available to the public, Krush said, but “if there are any costs associated with any event like security people we would look to offset those costs. We’re not in the real estate business, we’re not building the auditorium to make a profit. We built it really as an amenity.”

“Hopefully we’ll get a lot of use out of it both for the bank and for our neighbors,” he noted.

Following are other updates on the Citi construction, which unifies the bank's two buildings, 388 and 390 Greenwich Street, into one, with a single glass facade on the lower 14 floors, redesigned public plazas, and the gutting and rebuilding of all 2.5 million square feet of interior space.

• Below is the scheduled completion dates for five sections of the building. The blue area, including the new plaza at North Moore and Greenwich streets, is expected to be completed by this October. Following that a crane will be in place on the building's Hubert Street side for the removal of the north facade. The illustration shows the remaining completion schedule.

• Citi has abandoned its plans to accommodate security bollards by removing many of the trees on the Greenwich Street side of its building. “The public agencies worked with us [and] we’re now relocating those bollards out away from the tree line,” Krush said. Because of a water main below the sidewalk, he said, “It took us about six months to reengineer that. The good news is we’re going to keep most of those trees along Greenwich Street. Below is a revised rendering showing the canopy of trees.

• Krush said that the mezzanine level of the building's interior is being removed to create the volume of space of Grand Central Terminal.

• Citi is considering a private or “semiprivate” ferry service between its Jersey City facility and Pier 25. Discussions are taking place with the Hudson River Park Trust.

• Complaints about construction can be made by calling a hotline at 212-723-4800 or by contacting Community Board 1 at 212-669-7970 or