world trade center construction, ground zero construction
Mark Lennihan/AP
The World Trade Center construction site, Sept. 9, 2009.

Rebuilding Ground Zero: What Is Being Done?

September 11, 2009 03:00 PM
by Denis Cummings
The work to rebuild the World Trade Center has been marked by delays and cost overruns, but there are some signs that progress is being made.

World Trade Center Slowly Being Rebuilt

In the eight years following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed Lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center, there has still been little progress in rebuilding ground zero.

“I think it’s a national disgrace,” said Jim Riches, a retired New York deputy fire chief. “I really think it’s horrible. We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t get all the politicians in New York … to build the World Trade Center back up again.”

The 16-acre site is divided into two zones. One side, where the Twin Towers once stood, is being developed by the Port Authority. It will feature a 1,776-tower, formerly known as the Freedom Tower and now referred to as One World Trade Center, as well as a Sept. 11 memorial and museum. The other side, controlled by developer Larry Silverstein, is scheduled to have three towers and a transit hub built.
The Port Authority hopes to have the memorial, featuring two massive manmade waterfalls in the footprints of the Twin Towers, completed by 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. It is scheduled to be followed by the museum a year later and One World Trade Center in 2013 or 2014.

The Freedom Tower has had many delays since plans for it were released in 2003, but there are signs that it is on the right track, as beams for it now reach 105 feet. “It’s not a pit. It’s not Ground Zero,” said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, to WCBS. “Now it’s a sign of rebuilding and it’s a sign of real hope.”

Silverstein is attempting to build three towers and a transit hub on his side, but he is locked in a dispute with the Port Authority over funding. According to a report commissioned by the Port Authority that was released last April, the third tower likely won’t be opened until 2030.

The economic recession is contributing to the delays, as there are doubts as to whether there will be a market for the 8.8 million square feet of office space being built. “What we’re now debating is whether government, the Port Authority, should be building speculative office space … that the financial markets say are not needed, that there are no tenants who need the space,” said Ward to The Associated Press.

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