View Poll Results: Construction is underway, how do you feel about the final design for the WTC site?

192. You may not vote on this poll
  • I am more than satisfied; I believe that the final design surpasses that of the original World Trade Center. 10/10

    50 26.04%
  • While nothing may ever live up to the Twin Towers, I am wholly satisfied with the new World Trade Center; it is a new symbol for a new era. 7/10

    55 28.65%
  • I have come to terms with the new World Trade Center; although it has a number of flaws, I find the design to be acceptable. 5/10

    48 25.00%
  • I am wholly disappointed with the New World Trade Center; we will live to regret the final design. 0/10

    22 11.46%
  • I am biased, but honest, and hate anything that is not a reincarnation of the original Twin Towers.

    17 8.85%
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Thread: World Trade Center Developments

  1. #211
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    This is very good. Some street level retail and some new things instead of a boring underground mall.

    Also, Silverstein need to be reigned in a bit. Not sure if the PA is the one, but someone needs to be.

    Hey, 12% of billions is a lot of money toward a nice "Grand Central - Downtown."

  2. #212


    September 16, 2003

    Retail Operator at Trade Center Is Pulling Out of the Deal


    Westfield America, the mall operator that owns the lease for retail space at the World Trade Center, said yesterday that it was negotiating a cash settlement to pull out of its deal on the downtown complex.

    While the move could clear the way for significant design changes sought by rebuilding officials, it raises questions about how much money will be available for the downtown project if there are other buyouts.

    Westfield, the operator of the underground mall that was destroyed at the trade center, has resisted efforts to create more retailing at street level. Yesterday, the company said that it had signed a nonbinding letter of intent with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to give up its contract for $140 million.

    "We are selling our interests to the Port to help simplify the overall rebuilding process and expedite the rebuilding of the World Trade Center," said Peter Lowey, the company's chief executive, in a statement.

    The Port Authority, the owner of the 16-acre site, said that it was pleased to "enter into discussions" with Westfield. It said that an agreement would "allow the best interests of the public to take precedence in the development of appropriate retail space."

    Officials involved in the negotiations said that Westfield recognized that it would take 10 to 15 years to rebuild the complex, which was once one of the highest-grossing malls in the country, with hundreds of stores. Westfield, a publicly traded company based in Australia, was not confident that the current proposals for retail space would ever generate average sales of $900 a square foot, as the trade center did in 2000, according to executives who have talked with the mall operator. So the company would rather get out.

    The announcement illuminates a shift in the discussions over the trade center site, from the design of the site and its memorial to more bottom-line financial concerns.

    Westfield's announcement comes 12 days after GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation sued the Port Authority and the developer Larry Silverstein over the $563 million loan it provided Mr. Silverstein and his partners when they acquired the trade center lease. GMAC, which says its loan is secured only by the insurance money, has asked a judge to freeze payments to Mr. Silverstein. Over the last nine months, it has refused to release any insurance proceeds to Mr. Silverstein that would allow him to pay for architects involved in rebuilding.

    The insurance companies have put $1.9 billion into an escrow account controlled by GMAC. About $600 million of that total has been spent on ground rent, loan payments and items covered by business interruption insurance.

    Last Wednesday, Port Authority commissioners quietly decided to begin discussions to buy out GMAC's mortgage so that the lender would not become an impediment.

    Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority are also awaiting a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in their battle against the insurance companies that provided coverage for the trade center. Mr. Silverstein contends that he is entitled to a double payment of nearly $7 billion because two planes hit two towers in what he describes as two separate "occurrences" on Sept. 11.

    The insurance companies contend that the developer is due only the policy limit, about $3.5 billion, a sum that Mr. Silverstein has said is not enough to rebuild the trade center.

    Charles A. Gargano, vice chairman of the Port Authority, said the agency was in fundamental agreement with having Mr. Silverstein pay off the GMAC loan, as long as the authority was protected against a lower-than-expected insurance payout.

    The elimination of GMAC and Westfield would presumably reduce some of the squabbling over the designs. Westfield, for one, put up $127 million in July 2001 for its retail leases based on estimates of 150,000 office workers and visitors a day. The company opposed efforts to move stores from below ground to create a more energetic street life.

    But buyouts could also reduce the money available for rebuilding, an especially critical issue if Mr. Silverstein loses his legal battle and the insurers pay out only $3.2 billion. That figure would drop to about $2.2 billion after taking into account the buyouts and money already spent. The first office building, which is in the design stage, will cost as much as $1.5 billion, and the overall rebuilding project is expected to cost more than $7 billion.

    "I've long been concerned that no one is keeping an eye on the finances," said Elliott Sclar, a professor of urban planning at Columbia University. "Despite the city's current fiscal crisis, they say we can do anything downtown and it'll be successful. But there's a complex set of interests at work here and only so much money."

    "Somebody's got to foot the bill at the end of the day," said one executive involved in buyout negotiations. "I don't think everyone's worked out the economics yet."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  3. #213


    I just heard on the radio that the PA scrapped the bus garage on the sacred "footprints." There will be nothing but PATH tracks in the pit. I haven't found any news articles on-line, but maybe someone has something?

  4. #214

    Default Liberty Bonds should not be for midtown-LMDC chair

    Liberty Bonds should not be for midtown-LMDC chair
    Reuters, 09.16.03, 2:51 PM ET

    By Joan Gralla

    NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The chairman of the agency charged with rebuilding lower Manhattan said on Tuesday he opposed using tax-free Liberty Bonds for midtown office towers, including projects for the Bank of America Corp. and the New York Times Co.

    The two companies are planning to build office towers in midtown. Both the Times' developer, Bruce Ratner, and Bank of America have said they want Liberty Bonds to help pay for the costly projects.

    "This board member certainly believes that it should not be used for any purpose other than lower Manhattan," John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC), told reporters after a board meeting.

    Asked what he might do to prevent New York State and New York City from approving Liberty Bonds for the two midtown projects, Whitehead replied: "This is my first step. But not my last step."

    The federal government approved $8 billion of Liberty Bonds, which are exempt from federal, state and city taxes, to help rebuild New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, air attacks. Some real estate experts say downtown Manhattan's growth could be sapped by big new midtown projects.

    Whitehead's stance put him in conflict with both Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, who serves on the LMDC board, told Reuters: "We think it's highly appropriate; the city and state agree on that."

    Washington earmarked $2 billion of the Liberty Bonds for projects located outside lower Manhattan, Doctoroff noted.

    The Times plans to build a 52-story building on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st streets. Bank of America wants a two million square-foot tower on 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue. Officials from both companies were either unavailable or declined to comment.

    LMDC also approved plans to seek the federal government's approval for a $50 million apartment building with 300 units earmarked for affordable housing that also would be at least partially financed with Liberty Bonds.

    On Wednesday afternoon, the LMDC plans to unveil a revised site plan, which will clarify where underground structures -- from truck ramps to subway train lines -- will be located.

    Board Member Roland Betts said the design by architect Daniel Libeskind "is 100 percent intact." He explained that, for example, plans to add a fifth office tower or move the tallest office building from the northwest corner to the northeast corner had been rejected.

    Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service

  5. #215


    I hope that doesn't ruin my day tomorrow.

  6. #216
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    The permanent location of FT is a good thing, as is the holding of only four towers at the site. More space, more height.

  7. #217


    The following .pdf file is dated 9/16 and has a new ground level plan. The most notable aspect is the park between Liberty and Cedar Sts. on the south side of the site and the bus station moved to the north of the WFC.

  8. #218





    September 17, 2003 -- TODAY, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority will unveil Daniel Libeskind's revised master plan for Ground Zero. We'll get to see how well the architect, public agencies and leaseholder have reconciled the needs for commercial renewal, memorial commemoration, footprint preservation, street extension and skyline restoration - all on a site too small for them all.

    The design will little resemble Libeskind's original, knife-edged, pit-and-pendulum vision of last year. It retains all the 10 million square feet of offices that Libeskind grudgingly squeezed into a version shown last winter.

    The difference is that the new model, which moves about 1.5 million square feet of offices to 130 Liberty St., has a real chance of being built. That's because Gov. Pataki has put his muscle behind it - and because Libeskind agreed to let Larry Silverstein's architect, David Childs, design the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower.

    Libeskind has clearly bowed to reality. His accommodations lend hope that the tower might actually poke its head out of the earth by next summer - paving the way for the eventual reclamation of the entire 16-acre site in an appropriate form.

    BUT Libeskind's willingness to play ball is bound to infuriate anti-development forces of every stripe: left-wing ideologues, landlords fearful of competition from new office towers and - no secret to readers of this page - The New York Times and the editorial page, at least, of the Daily News.

    Whatever the Times' or News' objections to the aesthetics of Ground Zero, they have made no secret as to what they really hate: the restoration of office space there.

    What reception awaits the revised site plan may be gleaned from a lavishly illustrated story in Saturday's Times. It expressed shock - actually, horror! - that Libeskind's evolved plan will closely resemble last year's Beyer Blinder Belle designs, which the Times hated.

    The headline groaned, "Ground Zero Plan Seems to Circle Back - Compromises Behind the Scenes Echo a Proposal Rejected Earlier."

    It's ironic that after a prolonged selection process and much tweaking, Libeskind's final plan will recall BBB's. But it is hardly a secret. It was first brought to public attention on this page in March, where Libeskind's master plan and one of BBB's were shown side by side under the headline, "What's the difference?"

    WHY does the Times pretend to notice only now? Because last winter, it didn't suit the paper's purpose to do so.

    The Gray Lady had enthusiastically endorsed Libeskind's original vision for a 70-foot-deep pit and knife-edge towers. Even after some rough edges were softened, Libeskind's heart remained more in the plan's exposed slurry wall, "Wedge of Light" and cultural museum than in office buildings.

    And the Times just as plainly hoped Libeskind's "vision" would crowd out Silverstein's ambition to restore the office space. Just two months ago, a Times editorial said that "one version" of Libeskind's plan "did make room" for 10 million feet of offices - as if that "one version" were not, in truth, the only plan on the table at that time.

    The notion that full office restoration could be rolled back was bolstered by Libeskind's insistence that only he would design the Freedom Tower - even though he had never designed an office building.

    But things quickly changed. Prodded by Pataki, Libeskind and Silverstein reached a rough accommodation, and Libeskind yielded to Silverstein's demand for Childs to design the big tower. Now the Times, along with much of the deep-thinking establishment, appears ready to turn its erstwhile fair-haired boy Libeskind into a goat.

    It would not be the first time The Times has played a destructive role in delaying Ground Zero's reclamation. Its obsessive assault on last summer's BBB site plans lent an aura of legitimacy to the LMDC's cowardly withdrawal of them, setting things back a year.

    IT'S an unfortunate, and under-appreciated, truth that two of New York's three daily newspapers are linked to real-estate interests likely to suffer from office replenishment Downtown - a circumstance that makes both papers something other than disinterested spectators at Ground Zero.

    The Times is in a close partnership with developer Forest City Ratner, which plans to build the Times Co.'s new Midtown headquarters tower; it will be jointly owned by the Times and Ratner. Ratner also aspires to develop new office towers in Brooklyn, likely at Downtown's expense.

    At the same time, Ratner and the Times have a problem on their hands: The top half of the new Times tower, located on Eighth Avenue and 40th Street, has not yet signed tenants. Ratner's inability so far to obtain a construction loan for its portion of the building has compelled it to seek Liberty Bond financing. The last thing Ratner needs while it searches for companies to fill 700,000 square feet on top of the Times space is a batch of freshly minted, cheaper new offices Downtown.

    Lest anyone think that Midtown and Downtown are not competing markets, recall that HIP is leaving the West 30s for 55 Water St. Or consider how giant Midtown landlord Boston Properties is trying to exploit Downtown's weakened condition. The collapse of Arthur Andersen left Boston with a mostly empty new office tower in Times Square. To fill it, Boston is trying to lure law firm Cadwalader Wickersham Taft - a Downtown tenant for 200 years.

    And who is Boston's chairman? Mortimer Zuckerman - who also happens to be chairman of the Daily News. If the Times is joined at the wallet to a real-estate firm, the Daily News is joined at the head.

    LIKE Ratner or any other landlord, Boston Properties would prefer to keep the inventory of competing space as small as possible to keep rents as high as possible, in accordance with the law of supply and demand. A News editorial last summer warned Silverstein and the PA against even thinking about replacing all the WTC's office space.

    The News has long had a beef with the PA. It escalated after Boston Properties, in partnership with Brookfield Properties, tried to buy the World Trade Center leasehold in the winter and spring of 2001 - only to lose out to Silverstein in an epic bidding war.

    The News has confined its distaste for office rebuilding and its hostility toward Silverstein to its editorial page. Not so the Times, which for months flagrantly falsified Downtown's condition with exaggerated vacancy rates and hysterical predictions of mass corporate exodus.

    EMBARRASSED by revelations that its own new headquarters might swell that vacancy rate, the Times briefly mothballed its blatant propaganda. No longer do news stories directly assail the wisdom of rebuilding 10 million square feet of offices.

    But the campaign has returned in stealthier form. On Sunday, a Times survey of the commercial market cited only the most pessimistic data on Manhattan's unoccupied space.

    The Times used numbers from Newmark & Co., one of the city's big-three commercial brokerages. As anyone in real estate knows, Newmark always reports higher vacancy rates than competitors such as Cushman & Wakefield, CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle.

    The same day, the Times picked up its old drumbeat about jobs not returning to Manhattan. It "reported" old news that of 20,000 financial services jobs lost after 9/11, half had not come back - a handy argument against rebuilding offices.

    Why such a non-story now? To discredit Downtown's prospects, the Times relied on prognostications of M. Myers Mermel, the same tenant broker whose wild claims of 20-plus percent "vacancies" Downtown last year emboldened the paper to declare that one floor in five stood "empty." True to form, Mermel told the Times that even when Wall Street firms rehire, "they will place new employees elsewhere."

    Yes, The Post also carries bad tidings about Downtown, from Silverstein's insurance woes to the bankruptcy of the Century 21 office tower to Donald Trump's trashing of the Libeskind plan as a "monstrosity."

    But The Post (like The Wall Street Journal, Crain's and other papers) has also covered Downtown's declining vacancy rate and the stabilization of the commercial base - phenomena that somehow elude the interest of Times editors.

    NO one suggests Times reporters are party to an agenda. What appears in any paper is as much a reflection of editing as of reporting. We rarely get to know how stories are assigned or edited - or which ones are written but never see print.

    An exception was the sports columns about the Augusta Golf Club that broke with Howell Raines' party line. Spiked by Raines' lackeys, they saw light of day only after a public outcry.

    Maybe one day we'll learn how the Times decides what's fit to print about Ground Zero.

  9. #219


    Architect says revisions to World Trade Center plan refine original

    September 17, 2003, 5:40 PM EDT

    NEW YORK (AP) _ Architect Daniel Libeskind presented a revised plan for the World Trade Center site that he said was a refinement and an improvement of his original vision.

    Libeskind denied reports that he has been forced to water down his plan to make it more commercially viable and said he stands by all the changes.

    "They improve the scheme," he said Wednesday. "The buildings have become delicate. They've become more slender. Their views are better."

    The new plan still includes five office buildings, but it places one just south of the trade center site, where the damaged Deutsche Bank tower now stands.

    It also limits development over the footprints of the twin towers, except commuter train tracks. A coalition of victims' relatives had campaigned to preserve the footprints, which they consider sacred ground.

    Earlier designs did not protect those areas.

    Families said Wednesday the plan was an improvement, but they hesitated to call it a victory.

    "They have made progress in the right direction," said Jack Lynch, the father of a fallen firefighter. "It's not everything we wanted, but they have addressed some of our concerns."

    Lynch said some relatives object to the addition of a sixth train track, to run over the south tower footprint. The families did not oppose the first five tracks because the first trade center had them.

    Libeskind presented the plan Wednesday with officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the redevelopment.

    Copyright 2003, The Associated Press

  10. #220


    Revised WTC Plans Unveiled

    By Katia Hetter

    September 17, 2003, 5:54 PM EDT

    Architect Daniel Libeskind's plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center site, which includes the world's tallest structure, now calls for slimmer office buildings and the shifting of office and other development south of Ground Zero, Libeskind said Wednesday.

    Many of the changes are improvements to the original plan, Libeskind said, speaking at Wednesday's release of the revised plan.

    "I stand by all the changes ... I was not forced to make them by anybody," Libeskind said. "I stand by them. They improve the scheme. They create spaces that are viable, commercially viable, in terms of buildability, and recognize all the complex issues that are not only on the ground, but what's below."

    The four slimmed-down office towers on-site allow for a less-crowded site and better views, with 1.6 million square feet of the 10 million square feet of office space moved off-site.

    Other changes include the security zone for truck inspections have been moved off-site, the site's public parks have been enlarged and bus parking will handled at a yet-to-be-determined location off-site, officials said.

    Retired firefighter Lee Ielpi, who lost his firefighter son at Ground Zero in the terrorist attacks and has often criticized officials for ignoring the families, said he was "optimistic" and "encouraged" by the revised site plan.

    Ielpi's group, the Coalition of 9/11 Families, has lobbied to protect the footprints of the Twin Towers to bedrock.

    "It's obvious we've made a dent," Ielpi said. "We don't have a ramp through the site, bus terminal, infrastructure, but then again, they did not say you have bedrock or the footprints (protected). When the memorial is picked, we'll see."

    Still, Gov. George Pataki's goal of laying a cornerstone of Freedom Tower by next summer could be a problem for Libeskind. Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein's architect was named to lead the design of the Freedom Tower, and asked if Childs' design would resemble Libeskind's vision, Libeskind said, "I'm an optimist."

    Silverstein spokesman Howard Rubenstein applauded the more detailed plan, saying in a statement "it moves us another major step closer to rebuilding."

    The ongoing environmental review process, which should conclude next spring, and the selection of a memorial design may still change the site plan, officials said. A 13-member panel will choose up to eight finalists, and then a final memorial design, from 5,200 entries submitted this summer.

    The Port Authority, which owns the trade center site, asserted more control over the site with its agreement to buy out Westfield Properties' lease for 600,000 square feet of retail space at the site. The financial terms have not been settled, Port Authority's executive director Joseph Seymour said.

    The agency is also negotiating with Deutsche Bank and Milstein Properties for property just south of the site for the security zone, either to buy or to seize through the government power of eminent domain, said Seymour.

    Deutsche Bank is a willing seller, but the company is suing its insurers to increase its payout for the damaged building at 130 Liberty St. Left alone, Howard Milstein has told Newsday he would develop apartments or a hotel on his land.

    Rejected ideas include the Port Authority's proposal to place the security zone and the bus garage at the site below street level and trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein's proposal to add a fifth tower to the site and move the Freedom Tower from the site's northwest corner to its northeast corner.

    Libeskind's initial proposal included a memorial site 70 feet below street level, which was raised to about 30 feet in the current place; and a larger section of the slurry wall was initially left exposed to elements.

    See The Revised WTC Plan Presentation

    Virtual Tour of the New PATH Station At Ground Zero

    Copyright 2003, Newsday, Inc.

  11. #221
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    I may have missed something, but on that rendering on page 4, am I the only one who noticed the 130 Liberty site's building nearly doubled in height? Its roof fits the spiral by acting at an upward curve at the end of it.

  12. #222


    Here's some slightly better quality pics of the new plan.

    1. Old vs. New

    2. New massing model

  13. #223

  14. #224



    Those towers are huge!

    I must admit I am impressed.

  15. #225


    Thanks JMGarcia (et. al.) for the great photos and links to the Ground Zero site plan revisions!


    Have there been any design changes which impact on the WTC Memorial Design Competition site itself; specifically, the "Bathtub" area? Does the proposed Cultural Center Building on Fulton St. still bridge over the North Tower's footprint? Does the September 11 Place Museum Building still cantilever over the South Tower's footprint? Have there been any changes at all that may affect the parameters of the LMDC's WTC Memorial Design Competition? Have any elevations in the pit been changed (from those stated in the competition guidelines)? Are the access points and ramps still the same?

    The images seem to indicate that nothing has changed in the area of the bathtub. Any major revisions to the pit would adversely affect the design competition!

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