Rebuilding the World Trade Center Site and Environs

Main 9/11 links page

New WTC Final Designs: The Whole Enchilada ( September, 2007)

Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero by Phillip Nobel
Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York by Paul Goldberger

PBS: America Rebuilds II: Return to Ground Zero
PBS NOVA: Building on Ground Zero (2006)
Project Rebirth: documenting the day-by-day rebuilding of the World Trade Center site in New York City

Websites, Articles
Lower Manhattan Development Corp (LMDC) Final Report 2001-2006
WTC Amended General Project Plan
Economic Analysis of LMDC Initiatives
LMDC Project Rebirth
An Agreement Is Formalized on Rebuilding at Ground Zero (NYT Sept 22, 2006)

A Ground Zero blog

The Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Immediate Impacts
One Year Later: The Fiscal Impact of 9/11 on New York City
Economic Impact of WTC Disaster
Review of Studies of the Economic Impact of the September 11, 2001, Terrorists Attacks on the World Trade Center
Review of the Estimates for the Impact of 9/11 on New York Tax Revenues

NYC Department of Buildings Task Force Recommendations
City Reshaping Building Codes To U.S. Model (NYT May 17, 2004)(More NYC building code information at Fire Safety Engineering & the Performance of Structural Steel in Fires)

NPR audio: Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger on Ground Zero
NPR audio: Building the soul of New York City
New York New Visions: A Coalition for Rebuilding Lower Manhattan
Daniel Libeskind by Paul Goldberger, New Yorker 09/08/03
ASCE Report on Rebuilding the WTC April, 2002 (Good Overview of Planning Concerns)

Cleanup's Pace Outstrips Plans For Attack Site ($ NYT Jan 7, 2002)

Little by Little, an Overnight Success (Lower Manh. real estate. Free NYT, May 10, 2006)
RealEstateJournal | Several Articles | Rebuilding Lower Manhattan | Insurance | Silverstein

"Dig It" ($ NYT Magazine May 12, 2002)
ABSTRACT - Robert Sullivan article on rebuilding of Lower Manhattan's complex underground infrastructure in wake of World Trade Center attack; utility companies are engaged in huge subterranean construction project to install backbone for newer, more advanced voice, data and electrical network; face internal structures that mimic architecture above: mixture of old and new, remade and jury-rigged

New Retaining Wall Considered for Ground Zero ($ NYT Feb 8, 2002)
"New Wall To Keep Out Hudson Must Be Built, Says Head Engineer" - (New York Newsday, Feb 6, 2002) According to George Tamaro, the engineer who directed the original construction of the World Trade Center, the "bathtubÓ which keeps out the Hudson River suffered so much damage on Sept. 11 that a new wall will have to be added before permanent rebuilding can occur. Tamaro, a partner at Mueser-Rutledge Consulting Engineers, believes that a second interior wall -- or "liner wallÓ -- must be constructed to augment the original "bathtub.Ó The project would cost $15 million to $20 million, he estimated. Such a project will add an unspecified amount of time to the overall reconstruction of the site.

On Greenwich St., It’s Been One Reason After Another to Dig, and Dig They Must (NYT Sept 12, 2006)

The Intersection Of Two Designs And Two Purposes (Calatrava transportation hub meets GZ memorial. $ NYT Nov. 30, 2006)

Vacancies Down Around Ground Zero (Wash. Post, February 25, 2007)

New WTC 7 (See alsoFeatures of the new WTC 7)
Installing fireproofing in new WTC 7
Few Tenants For 7 World Trade Center
"Tensions Roil Efforts at Ground Zero Site" (Creditors say smaller WTC 7 will reduce value of collateral) How Green Is My Tower? (7 WTC & Hearst Bldg $ NYT April 16, 2006)

Freedom Tower
Freedom Tower Spec Sheet, specs (pdf)

Skyscraperpage Forum
High Anxiety (Freedom Tower. $ NYT Glanz March 14, 2004)
A Look ahead at Freedom Tower
Employees Say No to Freedom Tower (NYT Sept. 19, 2006)
Plan to Fill Freedom Tower Stirs a Debate (gov't agencies to occupy 1 mill. sq. ft. @ $59 per. NYT Sept 20, 2006)
A First Look at Freedom Tower's Neighbors (NYT Sept. 8, 2006)
At Ground Zero, Towers for Forgetting (Foster, Rogers, Maki. NYT Sept 11, 2006)
Spitzer Makes Switch Official: He Supports Freedom Tower (NYT Feb 21, 2007)
Lust for Height (World Skyscraper development post-9/11)

Graphics: Freedom Tower Design Changes (2006)

Freedom From Fear (Guy Nordenson on Freedom Tower $ NYT Feb 16, 2007)
Nordenson's Freedom Tower Design

Despite Terror Concerns, New York Builds Glass Skyscrapers (NYT free. Sep 6, 2004)
Defying concerns after the attack on New York three years ago that post-9/11 construction would be dominated by brute concrete bunkers, the designers of significant new public and private buildings in the city are turning again and again to glass facades. ...Testing at White Sands

Weidlinger put the idea of a protective curtain wall to the test in 1998 in its work on a federal building and courthouse in Las Vegas. A full-scale mockup of part of the curtain wall was erected inside a blast simulator at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Explosive charges were set off. (Dr. Smilowitz is not permitted to reveal the magnitude.) Only 3 of 27 panes in the mockup were damaged, he said, with no debris.

The White Sands simulator was used again in 2002 to test a 15-by-30-foot section of a curtain wall manufactured by Enclos Corporation for the Bronx Criminal Court Complex on East 161st Street, designed by Rafael Viñoly Associates and DMJM.

The Bronx project was under way before the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. "Oklahoma City changed the whole design criterion for the Bronx criminal courthouse," said Charles Blomberg, an architect and the technical director of the Viñoly office. "But the idea of a transparent building was maintained."

The project was delayed for several months while a task force including the Police Department and a threat-assessment analyst developed criteria for blast resistance, which Mr. Blomberg said he could not disclose. "We were able to adjust the strength and structure of the curtain wall to accommodate these new parameters," he said.

Both the Hearst Tower and the new headquarters of The New York Times on Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, were in development when the trade center was attacked. In the aftermath, Hearst elected to keep its glass facade but "reviewed every piece of the puzzle," said Brian Schwagerl, the director of real estate and facilities planning, upgrading the design and the materials at a premium of about 10 percent over the original cost of the curtain wall, which he would not specify.

One Steel Cage Goes Up, And More Are to Follow (New slurry wall construction, east bathtub, 64 cages to go to bedrock. $ NYT Jan. 24, 2007)

Excerpts from"The Hole in the City's Heart"(Good rebuilding overview, covers controversies, LMDC. 17986 words. $ NYT Sept 11, 2006)

...But the most pivotal conversation over ground zero's future took place in late 2001, behind the Port Authority's closed doors, when officials briefly entertained and then, fearing lengthy, costly litigation, rejected the idea of forcing out Mr. Silverstein.

''No matter who talked about, 'Let's get rid of Larry,' it was not something that could be done unless he was a willing participant or did not meet his contractual obligations,'' said Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., the authority's current executive director.

This decision vested a private businessman with extraordinary influence over the reconstruction effort and yet, because it is essentially a public project, tied his hands at the same time. It is a decision that has been second-guessed so often it is like a parlor game in certain Manhattan circles.

''They could have gotten Larry out,'' Mr. Betts said. It would have meant writing a check, Mr. Zuccotti said, but it could have been done. Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, said the mayor and the governor ''could have gotten in a room with Larry Silverstein and said, 'You're out of here.' ''

But Mr. Yaro said the Port Authority had multiple motivations for retaining the Silverstein lease. ''They saw it as their key to hanging on to the site,'' he said. ''They were afraid of losing control to the city or the state.''

Further, the Port Authority was counting on Mr. Silverstein's aggressive pursuit of insurance proceeds as well as the more than $100 million a year in rent that the Port Authority depended on to keep its overall operation flush.

''I don't think that should shock anybody,'' Mr. Ringler said. ''The World Trade Center was a moneymaker for this agency so that this agency, who pools its resources, can do all the other things we have to do.''

The World Trade Center site has been an even better moneymaker since Sept. 11, however, primarily because the attack coincided with the sale of the lease to Mr. Silverstein. While the Port Authority reported an average annual net income of $22 million on the complex in the five years before Sept. 11, it reported an average annual net income of $106 million on the empty site in the five years after.

''When you look at how much more profit we made,'' Anthony R. Coscia, the authority's chairman, said, ''all it represents is monetizing an asset we sold before Sept. 11,'' that is, turning the buildings into cash.

Although the public would not realize it for some time, there was little room for any wholesale reimagining of the World Trade Center site once the Port Authority made the decision to respect Mr. Silverstein's lease.

''You had this very quiet, very rapid elimination of the idea that it could be something other than 10 million square feet of office space plus a decorative necklace of ancillary institutions,'' said Michael Sorkin, director of the graduate urban design program at City College of New York.

But that decision did not translate into quick action. The Port Authority, a fiercely independent entity unaccustomed to much public review, was pushed temporarily to the side as Governor Pataki and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a new state entity, took over planning for the site.

...Mr. Betts, a development corporation board member, asked its chairman, Mr. Whitehead, ''to put me in charge of ground zero.'' It was not long before Mr. Betts got a taste of just how difficult it would be to oversee a public project involving clashing government entities, a private developer and a grieving public.

''With 20/20 hindsight, we never should have moved forward with so many conflicting stakes on this piece of real estate,'' he said. ''Those people bombed the most complicated site in the state. If they had chosen the Empire State Building, there would have been no Port Authority, no Larry Silverstein. It seemed like everybody had a vested interest in ground zero.''

It took more than a year to settle on a master plan. In early 2002, the Port Authority and the development corporation began the process by seeking bids from architects. And that is when it came to light that the government was treating Mr. Silverstein's lease as sacrosanct, that it wanted to replace the 10 million square feet of office space that was lost.

''This was a disastrous decision, and no one could believe it,'' said Mr. Yaro of the Regional Plan Association.

A Manhattan architectural firm was awarded the contract and a challenge: to come up with six alternative land-use plans.

When the plans were unveiled in July 2002, critics dismissed them as uninspired. The public's response, delivered at a meeting, called ''Listening to the City,'' that drew thousands to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, amounted to a Bronx cheer. What people especially condemned was the site's density, particularly the scale of the commercial square footage.

''Somebody said, 'It looks like Albany,' '' Mr. Betts said. ''That was the killer line.''

In the name of democracy, the development corporation discarded the six plans and embarked on a worldwide search for a more visionary master planner.

...Mr. Silverstein turned down the first choice: $50 million in cash plus the Deutsche Bank property to walk away from the World Trade Center.

Under the offer that he ended up accepting, Mr. Silverstein would retain three towers and 6.2 million square feet of office space on Church Street, with promises of government leases and some $2.6 billion in Liberty Bonds. For a reduction in rent and an approximately $20 million developers' fee, he would cede control of the 2.6-million-square-foot Freedom Tower and the Deutsche Bank property, which might become a hotel and residential building, to the Port Authority. And he would promise to adhere to a strict construction schedule.

In order to take on the Freedom Tower, the Port Authority, although it can issue bonds itself, demanded some $700 million in Liberty Bonds, about a third of the remaining insurance proceeds and a guarantee of 1 million square feet in tenants, which Mr. Pataki promised to secure from government agencies. The Port Authority does not plan to move its own offices into the 1,776-foot building but rather into one of Mr. Silverstein's shorter towers on Church Street.

As part of the deal, the Port Authority made a pledge to set aside $100 million for the memorial. That will go toward infrastructure costs that many thought to be the Port's responsibility all along -- including Mr. Coscia, who said that he was a ''chorus of one on that issue until I got Corzine on board and he said that he wouldn't allow his commissioners to vote in favor of the agreement unless that was in there.'' (The Port Authority later agreed to pay for an additional $50 million in infrastructure costs.)

On April 27, with the specifics of the deal still to be negotiated, Mr. Pataki, Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Silverstein gathered at ground zero to proclaim the start of construction on the Freedom Tower. And then Mr. Pataki, who is contemplating a presidential bid, left for a two-day trip to New Hampshire.

See also Ground Zero: The Other Buildings