(Reuters) - A new complex to replace the World Trade Center destroyed on September 11, 2001, is taking shape nine years after the attacks, when hijacked planes struck the Center’s Twin Towers that dominated the Lower Manhattan skyline.
The 16-acre (6.5 hectare) site is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is investing $11 billion in the project that is also being built by developer Larry Silverstein.
Plans call for as many as four very tall office buildings, a memorial and museum, a transportation hub and a performing arts center, all built around and on top of active rail and subway lines.
Following is a list of the main components.
THE MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM
The memorial will feature two reflecting pools marking the footprints of the fallen Twin Towers. By the 10th anniversary a year from now, the above-ground plaza with 400 oak trees and plaques with the victims’ names will open. It will take another year or so to finish the underground museum, which features biographies of the nearly 3,000 dead and the historical context of the attacks.
Displays include the granite staircase that withstood the attacks and allowed hundreds to escape, and the “Last Column,” which the New York Times likened to a steel shrine due to tributes inscribed by ironworkers and victims’ families.
From the plaza, visitors will be able to look down through an atrium on two 70-foot (21 meter) tall “tridents” or steel branches that supported the Twin Towers.
* One World Trade Center: The $3 billion tower should open in 2013, four years behind schedule. German architect Daniel Libeskind, the site’s master planner, envisioned a twisting “Freedom Tower” whose height of 1,776 feet matched the year of U.S. independence.
The final design by building architect David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was more practical, though it will be the tallest building in the United States.
* Four World Trade Center: One of Silverstein’s three skyscrapers now stands about eight stories high and should open in 2013. Designed by Japan’s Maki and Associates, the 975-foot (297-meter) tower will be clad with a metallic mesh and is fully funded with insurance settlements and Liberty bonds, a subsidy the U.S. Congress created to help revive New York City.
* Three World Trade Center: Designed by Britain’s Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, it will stand 1,080 feet high and its facade will feature diagonal supports when it opens, targeted for late 2014 or early 2015. With his insurance proceeds, Silverstein will build the tower up to the “podium” level a few stories high so that shops can open. To build offices over the stores he must first raise $300 million, pre-lease 400,000 square feet (37,160 square meters), and secure $1.3 billion of Liberty bonds and taxable debt. The city, state and authority will each contribute $200 million.
* Two World Trade Center: The design by Britain’s Foster + Partners has a glazed crystalline form and a diamond-shaped summit and would be built only to the street level initially, with completion of the tower depending on securing office tenants, according to Silverstein. When finished the 1,278-foot-tall (390-meter) tower would be 28 feet higher than the Empire State Building without its antenna.
* Mass transit hub: The elaborate design by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has been repeatedly simplified to prune its cost to $3.2 billion. The hub’s distinctive butterfly wings will be fixed, instead of movable as first planned. Scheduled to open in 2014, the hub should smooth the way for riders by interconnecting 11 subway lines and the PATH commuter trains that link New York to New Jersey.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Plans for a 1,000-seat theater to be designed by U.S. architect Frank Gehry have been modified repeatedly, as other projects took precedence and various arts groups flirted with the center only to back out. The Joyce Theater, a New York City modern dance company, says it plans to occupy the new center. But funding, design and other agreements have not been finalized. Work on the foundation should start by the end of this year. Building the rest of the center depends on how long it takes for the new mass transit hub to open because the site is the temporary home for the PATH.
Two related projects border the area known as “Ground Zero.”
* Seven World Trade Center: The 52-story, $700 million skyscraper just north of Ground Zero was the first Silverstein building to go up, and was completed in 2006. It is about 85 percent leased. It replaced a building at the same address
destroyed in the attacks.
* Five World Trade Center: This will occupy the site of the former Deutsche Bank building, just south of Ground Zero. The old building, irreparably damaged in the attacks, is still being demolished floor by floor, and a few stories remain. In 2007, a fire at the site killed two firefighters. Plans for the new building remain unsettled.
Editing by Daniel Trotta and Jerry Norton
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