May 5, 2005
New York Governor George Pataki yesterday
threw his support behind a security-related redesign of the
World Trade Center Freedom Tower. The announcement comes at
a crossroads for the site, which is facing questions on several
After concluding a meeting with New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Freedom Tower developer Larry Silverstein,
and various rebuilding officials, Pataki, one of the driving
forces behind the 1,776 foot-tall buildings conception,
announced that A new design for the Freedom Tower is
required in order to meet NYPD's security standards.
The New York Police Department first
expressed concerns about the towers safety early last
month, centering around the buildings vulnerability
to an automobile-related attack, specifically from West Street.
Skidmore Owings & Merrill, the towers architects,
will now work on adjusting the building for such concerns.
The new design is unknown, but The New York Times today said
that building officials have speculated that the architects
may have to remove the torquing design of the tower in order
to decrease the size of its floor plate, hence keeping it
further from the street. Other ideas include moving the tower
further away from West street. It is unknown how long the
redesign will delay the buildings construction, but
given the pace of major construction projects, it will likely
Meanwhile, questions about the site loom
as construction has reached a standstill, a major rebuilding
official has stepped down, and the wisdom of massive amounts
of office space in the area have come under scrutiny.
The last construction activity on the
site itself came about a year and a half ago, with the completion
of a temporary PATH station at the sites northeast corner.
New York Senator Charles Schumer on May 3 told a Crains
Business Breakfast that we are losing steam, and
that a culture of inertia has infected downtown redevelopment
and our city in general. He warned that additional delays
could jeopardize future federal funding for the area, specifically
referring to a possible link between JFK airport and lower
Silversteins 7 World Trade Center,
nearing completion just to the north of the site, stands without
a major tenant, while the Goldman Sachs Building, to its northwest,
has been put on an indefinite hold. Many real estate, design,
and business leaders suggest that the site contain more retail
and residential space, which appear to be in higher demand
in the area than office space.
Why make the program the same as
it was, rather than create an innovative part of the city?
New York-based architect Winka Dubbeldam told Record in a
recent survey of the area.
Kevin Rampe, who has been president of
the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation since 2003, announced
on May 3 that he would be leaving his post at the end of the
month. Rampe, who is leaving to work for Bermuda-based insurance
company ACE, says his departure has been long-planned, and
that it has nothing to do with the current developments at
the Trade Center. Rampe feels recent concerns over the site
are inflated, and says the Freedom Towers new delays
represent the Trade Centers only major obstacle. Everything
else is right on time, he says. Overall Im
surprised by how much progress weve made. There are
always going to be hiccups with projects of this scale. Many
people dont have the level of understanding to realize
that this is what happens.
In his speech, Pataki made sure to note
that a new design for the Freedom Tower is not impeding
any of our other rebuilding progress.