The Tribute Center, a project of the September 11th Widows' and Victims' Families Association is intended to serve as the central place for information and reflection until the WTC Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” opens in 2009.
The total cost to construct and operate the Tribute Center is approximately $15.5 million, officials said. This project is made possible in part by a $3 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Tribute Center is also supported by Deutsche Bank, the American Express Foundation, and the American Red Cross. The Families’ Association reached out to a wide range of donors to meet the center’s development and operating costs.
When the project was officially announced in June 2005, workers began clearing out the debris inside 120 Liberty. The building formerly housed two retail stores. Exterior work for the Tribute Center included renovating the façade of the existing storefronts to create a single glass exterior allowing passersby to look directly into the space.
The design for the Tribute Center was completed by BKSK Architects, a New York City firm with expertise in civic facilities and historic preservation. The center consists of two levels. The lower level holds a changing exhibition space, restrooms, a small office, and storage rooms. The permanent exhibit is located on the ground floor. There is no charge to go to the center, although a donation is suggested.