Larry Silverstein, of Silverstein Properties, who is developing the office towers on the site, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre site, reached a tentative agreement recently to finish the major buildings on the site. The two sides had been locked in protracted, and often bitter, negotiations since late 2008.
Also, the memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, and the attacks of February 26, 1993, reached a construction milestone on 25 March when the two signature reflecting pools were framed in steel.
The new agreement between Silverstein and the Port Authority calls for the construction of two of the skyscrapers, with the Port Authority providing $1.2 billion in financing toward the estimated $1.75 million cost of the first tower, called Tower 4 and designed by Fumihiko Maki. Silverstein, under the agreement, would commit funds from his insurance payout and proceeds from Liberty Bonds to cover the remaining cost of the first tower, expected to be completed in 2013, and the second tower, designed by Lord Richard Rogers and estimated to cost $2 billion. He has also agreed to raise $300 million and find tenants for the 400,000 sq ft of office space in the second tower before New York City, New York State and the Port Authority provide additional $600 million in financing.
“The agreement strikes an important balance between the redevelopment goals, financial risks and rewards between the public and private sector,” according to a joint statement issued by the Port Authority and Silverstein.
Plans for a third tower, Tower 2 designed by Lord Norman Foster, at the site will remain on hold owing to the office real estate market in downtown New York bur the foundation of the building to street level will be built. The agreement does not alter the possibility that the full ring of skyscrapers envisioned by architect Daniel Libeskind’s original master plan for the site might be realized given the proper market conditions.
The Port Authority and Silverstein have other key details to resolve in the next 120 days, such as developer’s fees and interest rates on the borrowing, and these issues could present yet another roadblock to the tentative progress at the site.
One World Trade Center, designed by David Childs, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, reached the 20th floor equivalent level, raising the tower to 200 feet above street level in February. The tower is scheduled for completion in 2013.
The memorial to Sept. 11 victims is on pace to be ready by the 10th anniversary. Designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker, almost all the steel for the project has been installed and nearly 60 percent of concrete has been poured. When construction is completed, the total amount of steel will equal 8,151 tons – more than was used to build the Eiffel Tower – and the total amount of concrete will be 49,900 cubic yards, according to the Port Authority.
Next, the granite stone lining the memorial pools will begin to be installed. When completed, the memorial pools are expected to be the largest man-made waterfalls in the US, pumping 52,000 gallons of recycled water per minute. The pools will sit within the original footprints of the former Twin Towers. Surrounding the two pools will be a grove of nearly 400 oak trees, which will be planted later this year.The Memorial Museum is expected to open in September 2012.