What about Madrid?
We Will Never Forget: WTC and London
What about Madrid?
I wasn't prolonging any kind of unsuitable discussion here. I was simply curious as to why one particular act of terror, which I have heard mentioned in the news several times today, was left out. You don't have to get all defensive.
New York Observer:
If You Take Space In Freedom Tower, You May Be First!
By Matthew Schuerman
Governor George Pataki and architect David Childs are so confident in the safety of the Freedom Tower that they said, during the June 29 love fest unveiling the building’s redesign, they’d be happy to have their children work there.
Hear that, Emily?
The trouble is finding enough other people who will want not just to send their children there, but even work there themselves. Ten thousand of them.
City and state officials are proclaiming the Freedom Tower to be the safest high-rise in the world, even if the bird’s-eye view of the tower included in the press packet—which shows its centered antenna and circular support ring against the rooftop—offers the image of a target.
“I’m not going to tell you that it’s not a symbol,” said James K. Kallstrom, Governor Pataki’s advisor for counterterrorism. “It’s been attacked twice before. We know that. It will be a lot stronger than it was before also.”
But after four years, three designs and numerous public forums, there’s no turning back. The public aim of erecting some sort of defiant symbol of strength has certainly made it hard for developer Larry Silverstein to achieve his private aim of finding tenants. But he knew what he was getting into when he decided to go forward with the Freedom Tower on spec—that is, building it without an anchor tenant in place.
When asked at the unveiling about prospective tenants for the 1,776-foot tower, Mr. Silverstein first said, “It’s a little bit early for the Freedom Tower tenancy. That will come in due course. But for a building that will be finished in ’ 10, you can expect tenant negotiations to be moving forward in a few years.”
Asked again a few minutes later, Mr. Silverstein delivered a more politic answer, saying that he’d had discussions with “very large block users”—in the private sector, no less.
But Mr. Silverstein wouldn’t name names.
The design includes a number of key features meant to correct the deficiencies of the World Trade Center, though Mr. Childs was reluctant to explain what might happen to the structure if it were struck in an airplane attack.
“The administration has made the decision to control the threat of an aerial impact from the airport,” Mr. Childs told The Observer. He argued that it was impossible to come up with and protect against every possible scenario that could put a building at risk.
The Freedom Tower is a behemoth, spiraling around a central core as large as 110 square feet, which will be wrapped in three feet of concrete and will enclose three stairways, elevators and communications equipment.
In the Twin Towers, the core was made of little more than plasterboard. The fireproofing will be extra sticky, since investigators have postulated that the impact from the airplanes blew off the fireproofing at the World Trade Center, leaving its structural beams exposed.
But much of the building’s line of defense, especially that which was incorporated since the tower went back to the drawing board two months ago, focuses on a possible truck-bomb attack.
The building will be set back at least 65 feet from the street—and Vesey and Fulton streets may be closed when terrorism threat levels are high, according to Mr. Kallstrom. The bottom 200 feet of the tower will be sheathed in concrete and then covered in textured steel. The concrete base will comprise an 80-foot-tall lobby containing few windows and, on top of that, several floors for elevator machinery and other mechanisms.
The Freedom Tower will be built and operated by Mr. Silverstein, but on land owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority is exempt from local building codes, and it also reviews and inspects structures itself. Although the Port Authority has stressed that it abides by the New York City building code, a federal investigation last month determined that the Twin Towers didn’t have enough stairwells, renewing calls for greater oversight.
“Why would they want to be immune from building codes?” said Sally Regenhard, chairwoman of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign. “All the safety in the world is useless unless this building is subject to the oversight of the building department.”
The Port Authority contends that it had gained city approval in 1994 for the design of the World Trade Center’s top floors, where, because of the large number of people normally expected to be occupying the rooftop restaurant and observation deck, the city’s building code would have required four staircases instead of just three.
The Freedom Tower would put the observation deck on top of the restaurant—the World Trade Center had one on either tower—but its designers say that it won’t need the fourth staircase because each floor will be smaller and the capacity lower. Also, according to Carl Galioto, technical partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the Freedom Tower will incorporate additional staircases—how many has yet to be determined—on the top floors that will join the three main ones a few floors lower in the building.
“It is our understanding that the Buildings and Fire Departments will be full participants in the review process,” said Mr. Galioto, who is also a member of a committee reforming the city’s building code.
The last time someone in New York built a very tall building like this one on spec, they had a hard time filling it—and that was long before terrorism.
That was when the Port Authority built the World Trade Center over three decades ago. At the time, the Port Authority and the State of New York ended up renting a lot of the space that had once been envisaged for world trade. The Port Authority was never able to live down that episode, and it isn’t keen to repeat it now.
This time, it doesn’t really need to.
In those early years, the Port Authority acted as its own developer and might as well have occupied any vacant space in the towers. But less than two months before Sept. 11, the Port Authority began leasing Mr. Silverstein the complex for about $10 million a month. Now the agency has no real incentive to move its offices back if it can find cheaper digs elsewhere.
Yet the Port Authority has promised to come back as a good-will gesture. But unlike Governor Pataki—who has pledged to move his New York City office into the Freedom Tower once it opens—the Port Authority hasn’t said where or when.
The Port Authority’s executive director, Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., has indicated that his agency would wait until Mr. Silverstein has built some of the other towers slated for the site—and that will be years after the Freedom Tower is completed in 2010.
“I know Larry Silverstein is very eager to start on Tower 2,” Mr. Ringler said recently. “Towers 3 and 4 will be market-driven. Hopefully we’ll be able to expedite that, because it would be nice to build that infrastructure up. Conceivably, the Port Authority could move into one of those towers. There’s lot of options being discussed right now.”
There’s another advantage to the Port Authority playing hard to get: Its presence might scare away the spit-polished investment bankers that Mr. Silverstein will need to pay what are expected to be premium rents there.
“If the state is the only entity willing to go there, it will be seen as less than desirable,” said M. Myers Mermel, chief executive of the tenant-side real-estate firm TenantWise.com. “Financial-services companies never want to be located in the same building as the government. It’s not seen as a compatible mix with corporate activity.”
Meanwhile, another Silverstein building across the street from the Freedom Tower site, 7 World Trade Center, has become, fairly or not, the most famous city building where no one wants to rent. That building’s 52 stories will be ready for occupancy by early next year. Its developer and broker are hoping that a package of incentives, along with existing goodies for renting on Port Authority land, will bring in the tenants who have so far been staying away.
Mr. Mermel is confident that by the time the Freedom Tower is ready to open in five years, the world could be a very different place.
“At the end of the day, there are usually two or three guys who are making the decision. You don’t have to convince all 3,000 workers to go there,” he said. “If inducements are great enough, the top three guys of XYZ Company may decide that it’s an O.K. place to be—which it is. We’re not always going to be at war. Our office buildings will not always be seen as being vulnerable.”
A New York Times/CBS News poll last week found that 43 percent of the city’s residents said they’d be willing to work in the upper floors, an increase compared to two years earlier.
Hey, that’s 3.5 million men, women and children.
Don’t all rush at once.
The last time someone in New York built a very tall building like this one on spec, they had a hard time filling it—and that was long before terrorism.
The Empty State Building.
Actually the last tall building built to spec, as luck would have it, had the same height and floor plate dimensions, it was the former WTC.Originally Posted by expose05
Oh, I stand corrected, either way both buildings did take a long time to get tenants
This is a rather bizarre statement.“Financial-services companies never want to be located in the same building as the government. It’s not seen as a compatible mix with corporate activity.”
I'm pretty sure the last tall building built on spec was 4 Times Square.Originally Posted by Stern
Conde Nast's 585,000 sq ft lease in mid-1996 initiated demolition on the site. Skadden, Arps followed shortly thereafter with a lease for 660,000 sq ft in 10/96.Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
What's scray is that yesterday WAS one of those days where I was anxious.Originally Posted by Johnnyboy
Try the feeling when on your day off your in the sony building looking at some cool tvs only to find out your country was bombed, awful.
A Freedom Tower Restarted From Scratch
By GLENN COLLINS
The redesign of the Freedom Tower at ground zero was announced publicly last month amid fanfare and festivity. But its presentation was the consequence of a devastating, and expensive, private decision made in the 18th-floor conference room of Silverstein Properties at 530 Madison Avenue on an afternoon in mid-April.
"We were looking at each other and saying, my God, this is not going to work with this building," said the tower's developer, Larry A. Silverstein, recalling the moment when he sat at a mammoth conference table with the dispirited team of architects and engineers commanding the effort to hurl a 1,776-foot-tall, $1.5 billion pylon into the sky where the World Trade Center once stood.
Mr. Silverstein found himself saying: "We have to start from scratch."
There was no way that the 2003 design of the Freedom Tower - a torqued and tapered patriotic statement with crystalline lobbies below a column of shimmering glass - could be tweaked, revised or otherwise modified to assuage terrorism fears.
The New York Police Department had issued a confidential report on April 8 about the danger posed by vehicular bombs. The department's counterterrorism experts had insisted for months that the building's base was insufficiently fortified and that its 25-foot setback from heavily traveled West Street-Route 9A was too risky.
Mr. Silverstein, 74, remembers it as "a gut-wrenching moment." Foundation steel was about to be ordered and the developer was losing $10 million a month in rent. To the building's architect, David M. Childs, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, "It was as if - now that you've finished the marathon - go again," he recalled.
Janno Lieber, the director of the trade center project at Silverstein Properties, said: "It was hard to break the news to the young architects who had been working their tails off day and night."
Thus began a marathon effort by dozens of people to assess whether, how and when a safer tower could rise above the emotionally charged land at ground zero. Ultimately, a new Freedom Tower was presented eight weeks after the embarrassing announcement that the original, supposedly definitive skyscraper would be scrapped.
Though Skidmore had designed many blast-resistant structures, "no one had ever built such a secure building that tall before," said T. J. Gottesdiener, the company's managing partner for the project.
Kenneth J. Ringler, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site, said: "We were back to Square 1. But the discouragement led to a new resolve."
First, the key designers - including the Skidmore team; Mr. Silverstein's staff; Cantor Seinuk, a structural engineering firm; and Weidlinger Associates, a security consultant - had to determine whether a wall could even be created to protect a skyscraper from a large explosion.
Then there was the question of whether the multilayered laminated glass surrounding the tower could be manufactured in quantity, "and whether it would be available in the marketplace," Mr. Lieber said.
More than 40 people at Skidmore began a desperate seven-day-a-week effort to assess concrete strengths, steel weights, window materials and glass technology. A short workday was 12 hours. A long one, 18.
To Mr. Gottesdiener, the challenge was "to build a great urban building that did not look like a concrete bunker," he said. The design's evolution was annoyingly slow. "There was never a eureka moment, just a series of confidence builders - ideas we knew would work."
Reconfiguring the building "was a three-dimensional problem," Mr. Gottesdiener said, "like an architectural Rubik's Cube." But the team realized that many of the north and south columns of the original tower, already laboriously configured to thread through the PATH tracks that ran underneath, could be retained.
And when the large parallelogram base was pared to a smaller square, the tower's distance from West Street could increase from 25 feet to anywhere from 65 to 125 feet.
It took "four weeks of furiously intensive work," Mr. Silverstein recalled, to address basic foundation and other matters. Then, on May 4, Mr. Silverstein and his team gathered in a conference room next to Gov. George E. Pataki's office in Midtown.
With the governor at one end of the table and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the other, Mr. Silverstein made this pitch: The building could be reborn.
Mr. Childs, the architect, had armed Mr. Silverstein with drawings illustrating how squaring the original tower's base could satisfy some security requirements. But there were no renderings of the tower's fortifications; the actual building had not been designed. Afterward, the governor announced that a new Freedom Tower was needed to meet "security standards," adding: "I have no doubt that David Childs will come up with yet another magnificent design that will once again inspire the nation."
Mr. Silverstein told the governor that "we could do it by the July Fourth weekend," he said, "but finishing it even that quickly would be excruciatingly difficult."
However, Governor Pataki insisted that the design be completed and announced by the end of June, asking that the team accomplish something in weeks "that usually takes four to five months," Mr. Gottesdiener said.
Mr. Silverstein initially rejected the earlier deadline, but relented, he said, when "I realized that if we could get it done before July Fourth, then everyone could enjoy the weekend with their families."
Two of those attending the May 4 meeting would soon be even more closely involved in the redesign. John P. Cahill, the governor's right-hand man, would be sent from Albany to take control of the redevelopment effort. Stefan Pryor, chief aide at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, became president after its leader, Kevin M. Rampe, resigned.
But the nearly round-the-clock efforts by the architects and engineers lacked coordination with the work of the oft-fractious coterie of ground-zero stakeholders. So Mr. Cahill, a 46-year-old who has survived the Ironman Triathlon, began presiding over a weekly Tuesday meeting in the 20th-floor conference room of the development corporation overlooking ground zero.
The participants were Mr. Silverstein, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Lieber, Mr. Bloomberg's representatives, the Port Authority, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the state and city transportation departments, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other managers. "Many people were in their own stovepipes," recalled Mr. Ringler, the Port Authority's executive director, "but John brought them all together."
Mr. Cahill said that "I didn't much need to crack the whip," adding, "But people's egos had to get out of the way for the greater public good here."
As the deadline approached, the new design took shape. Gone were the vulnerable lobby of glass with its exposed columns, the building's twisting form, and, at the summit, an elaborate cable structure and energy-generating wind farm.
In their place was a 77-story skyscraper atop an almost impermeable 200-foot concrete and steel pedestal, draped in ornamental metalwork. Many windows would be designed to withstand bomb blasts. Above the roof would be an antenna and an illuminated spire beaming light skyward. Elevators and utilities would be protected by a three-foot-thick core built from the densest concrete that could be poured.
Even then, "Tishman had to analyze very swiftly whether this was buildable," Mr. Silverstein said, referring to the construction manager, Tishman Construction Corporation.
Still, "I don't remember a moment of crisis," said Mr. Pryor, of the development corporation, "though we had some intense meetings, and there were plenty of times when people would say, 'We don't have enough time.' "
"But the team remained very focused on meeting the governor's deadline."
Mr. Childs and the architect Daniel Libeskind, who created the site's master plan, said that they never approached the level of contention they had reached while working on the original tower. As Mr. Childs and his team slaved away, Mr. Cahill and Mr. Pryor made it their mission to keep Mr. Libeskind in the loop, and ultimately he called the design "even better than the tower we had before."
To Mr. Cahill, "the redesign would not have been a success without Daniel's involvement."
During the last frenzied weeks, a 25-member Skidmore team worked into the night and ordered pizza 10 times from Lombardi's in Little Italy - once, "three meals in a row, straight - 8 to 10 pies," said Ken Lewis, their project manager.
A week before the June 29 announcement, Mr. Childs made his presentation to Governor Pataki. "He thought it was inspiring," Mr. Cahill recalled.
In brainstorming sessions, the decision was made not to term the announcement an "unveiling," because, as one participant noted, a "re-unveiling" might draw undue attention to the junked original design.
It became public in the vast Cipriani catering palace on Wall Street, where on May 12 Governor Pataki had promised a new design by the end of June. "It was important that we had the start point and the finish point in the same location," Mr. Pryor said. "It was a fulfillment of the pledge, in the place where the pledge was made."
After "the night that nobody slept," as the project manager Mr. Lewis put it, a tower model was set up for the presentation - and the spire promptly broke. Bill Wunder, the team's master model maker, fixed it.
The governor hailed the new tower with its "replica of the torch of freedom," and the mayor called it "a powerful beacon of freedom."
Then it was time for the architect's close-up. Mr. Childs stood before an artist's aerial view of the tower. A trick of perspective gave him the aspect of a colossus astride Governors Island as he spun an urbane narrative about his newest skyscraper.
Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner, issued a statement that the new tower's blast protection was "consistent with the N.Y.P.D.'s report on the Freedom Tower." As a featured speaker that morning at the annual brunch of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, an honor not lightly dismissed by a police chief, Mr. Kelly - whose department had prompted the redesign at a cost that has not been calculated - was unable to appear in person.
Though the redesign effort "was nothing short of remarkable," Mr. Silverstein said, architectural reviews were mixed. Design mavens began seeing correspondences between the new tower's features and previous projects. But Mr. Gottesdiener said "this was David's and S.O.M.'s effort," adding: "The design grew from the specific constraints of the site, out of a multitude of criteria, both aesthetic and functional."
These days the designers are still ordering pizzas, even as the finish line has been pushed back to 2010. It will take nine months to return to where the team was in April.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cahill is still convening his Tuesday meetings. "We have a lot of work down here," he said. "And the governor asks about it several times a day."
A couple of points that I don't seem to be seeing in a lot of things.
First, if 43% of the people are willing to work in the top stories of the planned tower, who is to say that the companies that lease there wont have anyone from the 57% that said no?
Second, I know all these security constraints were expressed from the very beginning. Why did it take the, who was it, police/fire admin on safety to tell the developers "Yo stupid, 25' is too close to a major thoroughfare open to the public"
Third, why things like "more sticky fireproofing" are even being considered when the problem wasn't a fire, but a plane HITTING the building, and THEN a fire. Making the fireproofing stickier would not have helped much, if at all, on the columns that were damaged and near collapsing after the plane hit.
Fourth, enough with the symbolism. The WTC NEVER stood for any of this crap, and I don't want a large office building to be the symbol of American Freedom in ANY way shape or form. The top is not like Lady Libertys Torch, and the concrete bunker is not a pedestal. Enouhg with the poetry, lets get back to buisness.
Fifth, politics seems to be subsiding, but with it, so is public support and possibly funding. How many projects are going to get shelved indefinitely as the public looses interest in a SOTA Path or Subway station?
Well, that's about it for now.....But give me time, I am sure something else will bug me about this before too long...