Removal of ‘Survivor Stairway’ at WTC Site to Move Construction Forward

A 38-step staircase that World Trade Center evacuees used to escape the devastation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was moved on Sunday to a location outside 7 World Trade Center.The relocation of the stairway, which had connected Vesey Street to the north end of Austin J. Tobin Plaza, will allow construction to begin on Tower 2, a 1,278-foot-tall skyscraper. “[Removal of the staircase] will allow excavation down to 80 feet, so construction can start on Tower 2’s basement,” said a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. If the staircase was not moved, excavation would have had to be done around the staircase, essentially leaving it on an island, the spokesperson said.  Tower 2, also known as 200 Greenwich Street, will rise 79 stories, and be topped by an 80-foot-tall radio antenna.  It will contain five levels of retail; 60 office floors, including a sky lobby, that will include 2.8 million rentable square feet; and a 67-foot-high office lobby. The building is slated for completion in 2012. The staircase will eventually be moved again, to the western edge of the 16-acre site, and lowered 70 feet, to the future site of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. according to a report in today’s New York Times.Plans were announced in 2006 to wreck the stairway, but protests ensued. In 2007, state officials announced an alternate plan; move it from its original site, and eventually make it part of the memorial.