Physical Work on WTC Rebuilding Ramps Up

The $20 billion World Trade Center rebuilding is well on its way, as physical work on the site ramps up and the ball is passed to the design and construction industry, site executives announced at the New York Building Congress Luncheon Forum, held today at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park, Manhattan. “We have accomplished a great deal since September 11, 2001, but more still has to be done,” said Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress, who opened up the discussion. The World Trade Center site has arrived at a pivotal and exciting moment in the rebuilding effort, as the project moves from the mostly design phase to the construction phase, pointed out Larry Silverstein, president & CEO of Silverstein Properties. Over the past year and a half, 120 architects, designers, engineers and consultants have been working in the World Trade Center Design Studio, which is now being renamed the World Trade Construction Center. “There has not been this much going on at the site since the clean-up concluded close to six years ago,” he said. The site is beginning foundation work for Towers 3 and 4 at 175 and 150 Greenwich St., and will be constructed by Tishman Construction, which is also building the Freedom Tower, the Goldman Sachs towers and 99 Church St.  The 1,147-foot Tower 3, designed by Richard Rogers, will contain 2.5 million square feet of office space 150,000 square feet of retail, a 60-foot-tall lobby and direct access to mass transit. Tower 4, designed by Fumihiko Maki, will contain 2.3 million rentable square feet of office space, anchored by the 600,000-square-foot Port Authority lease, and 140,000 square feet of retail space. And Turner Construction will build Tower 2, designed by Norman Foster. The 1,278-foot-tall building will contain 2.8 million square feet of space, which includes office and retail. In the past year alone, the developers have moved over 320,000 cubic yards of rock and dirt off the site, as well as 20,000 cubic yards of concrete, added Anthony Shorris, the Port Authority’s executive director. And over $2 billion in contract bids have been awarded. The buildings are expected to reach street level approximately one year after the start of construction, with Towers 3 and 4 topping out in mid-2010 and Tower 2 following in 2011. “Can you count on the schedule? You bet,” Silverstein said, noting that disputes over insurance coverage have been settled, breaking a logjam. The insurance proceeds, as well as the $2.6 billion of Liberty Bonds assigned to the project, will assure there will be enough money to get the projects finished, he asserted. All the buildings will contain over half a million square feet of destination retail, big box stores, little box stores, restaurants and bars, and will be developed by a joint venture of the Port Authority and Westfield America. And all buildings will be connected to the PATH system and New York City Subway system, as well as surround the centerpiece memorial. The developers were asked how this morning’s resignation of New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who will be succeeded by lieutenant governor David Paterson effective Monday, would affect the project. “All agreements have been signed, everything has been negotiated, and it is time to get on with it,” Shorris said.  “(All I can say to Patterson is) Godspeed, and let him join the process.” Silverstein added that whomever is governor would realize the implications of the site on the city, the state and the overall region. The developers also noted that fluctuations in construction prices, which have affected projects such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Fulton Street Transit Center, have moderated, and will not affect the elements of the World Trade Center project.