1 WTC is now up to the 40th floor and may top out by 9/11/11
The three remaining sites that will fill out the World Trade Center’s (WTC) 16 acres are now in the first phase of construction. The two towers, 2 and 3 WTC, and the Transportation Hub between them, are now active work zones -- their footings being carved out from the lowest elevation to stand on the bedrock of Lower Manhattan.
This was the update from this week’s Community Board 1 WTC committee meeting, where Port Authority and Silverstein Properties officials delivered their latest construction plans to local stakeholders.
“There is not any part of the site that does not have a clear, coherent plan going forward,” said Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, adding that the schedule from the 2008 “Roadmap Forward” is still accurate. “I think that for the first time, we have certainty, and that there is now a high level of progress and accountability. And you will see the milestones that we committed to in 2008 be achieved.”
Ward began with a progress report on his agency’s projects. At 1 WTC, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, the steel frame is at the 40th floor -- nearly up to half of it’s total height of 104 stories. Ward said that crews from Tishman Construction are erecting about one floor per week, and that the iconic tower should be up to the 90th floor -- if not topped out -- by the 2011 anniversary of 9/11.
Cladding of 1 WTC’s lower floors is planned to begin by late next month, and will rise with the building as new stories are built. Already the tower’s cranes can be seen on the downtown skyline, with the structure itself likely to be visible from around the region in early 2011.
Though 1 WTC will not open until 2013, the Port Authority already has been joined by new partner the Durst Organization to lease its commercial space. In addition, global media firm Condé Nast has signed a “letter of intent” to lease one million square feet in 1 WTC -- a commitment that Ward called “a game changer” in terms of the industry, employee base, and clientele the company would bring to the area.
Ward recapped the multiple construction milestones at the National 9/11 Memorial, where new trees and several large artifacts were installed last month. The steel of its entry pavilion is now rising, and the giant reflecting pools that mark the twin towers’ footprints are nearing completion. Approximately 700,000 square feet of sub-grade Memorial space also is built out.
Silverstein, meanwhile, is now focused on erecting its three new skyscrapers on the east side of the WTC site. At 4 WTC, steel is up the eighth floor with more being installed daily. The tower’s fireproofing is also underway, along with masonry that includes installation of black granite panels in the Greenwich Street–facing lobby, to serve as a tribute to the granite that lines the Memorial pools.
Janno Lieber, Silverstein’s president of WTC development, said that Tower 4 is on track for a late 2013 opening. He then explained that at 2 and 3 WTC, excavation for tower footings -- which form the very deepest structural anchors of the skyscrapers -- is nearly complete and the buildings’ cores will start to rise over the coming weeks. He said his firm intends to build each of the towers to their full heights, an effort to be aided by visible construction progress that will encourage potential tenants to sign leases.
“Tower 2 is meant to be at grade in the beginning of 2012,” said Lieber. “Tower 3 we’re fully expecting to complete that as a tower, and that will be end of 2014 or right at the beginning 2015, [but the goal is for] continuous construction.”
Between the two towers, Santiago Calatrava’s iconic Transportation Hub also is in foundation construction. Port Authority crews are forming its footings that will eventually hold the giant beams that will allow the future hub its wide-open interior. The main section of the Hub, where the “oculus” will draw in natural light, will by early 2014 tie into the MTA’s new pedestrian concourse to the east, as well as the new western concourse that will connect through the WTC to Battery Park City.
In the interconnected base of the four east-side structures, a half-million square feet of retail space will add to the economic engine of the WTC site. It will be served in part by the subterranean Vehicular Security Center (VSC), which will connect the complete site via the entry point in the South Bathtub, now under excavation.
The Port Authority continues to plan for the VSC’s construction in the area where 130 Liberty Street is now being deconstructed. That turnover is likely to occur in early 2011. Ward stated that negotiations continue for rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in its original location, at Liberty and Washington Streets.
Both Ward and Lieber emphasized that the new WTC structures are all being built with considerations about their construction materials, energy efficiency, and locations as key factors in their environmental sustainability.
“The vision is that we’re building a one-of-a-kind, mixed-used community,” said Lieber. “A place where a lot of people are going to walk or take mass transit to work in first-class, ‘green’ office buildings. They will have access to the waterfront, which is somewhat new to New York City for a residential and mixed-used community. It’s just a very special place that we hope will be an urban model for the country maybe even for the world.”