For years, development at the former World Trade Center site has been characterized by disagreements over what to build and on what scale. However, in 2010, efforts to rebuild on were marked by substantial forward progress. NY1’s Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
Just before the end of the year, a major milestone was reached at the site where the former Twin Towers once stood: One World Trade Center hit its halfway mark at 52 stories above ground.
From the 28th floor, it was a spectacular sight – progress, in the building and down below.
“We've built 600,000 square feet of office and memorial space below grade, but New Yorkers want to see their skyscrapers,” said Port Authority Executive Director Christopher Ward. “So when people are driving down the West Side Highway, they now see the kind of progress they've waited for."
When finished, the tower will be the tallest building in the city and in the country.
There's work happening all over the 16-acre site. Developer Larry Silverstein's Tower 4 is taking shape and Tower 3 will soon follow. But that wouldn't have been possible without a $1.5 billion deal between Silverstein and the Port Authority, approved at the end of August.
After years of false starts and animosity, everyone is finally playing together.
As the future rises above, the World Trade Center transit hub is on track underground.
Eventually, the $3.2 billion hub will serve 250,000 commuters, pedestrians and shoppers every day. There will also be a direct link from the MTA's new Fulton Street Transit Center for PATH and ferry passengers.
"We're connecting 13 subway lines with this east-west connector, and giving people a chance on a rainy day to stay underground almost all the way across Lower Manhattan,” explained Ward.
But it isn't easy. The hub is being built from the top down – around the temporary PATH station used by 60,000 riders a day, and within the swirl of other construction.
The station of the future is expected to be open in 2014.
The plan to build an Islamic community center and mosque blocks from the World Trade Center site remains a heated topic. Park51 has inspired protests and counter protests.
"This is hallowed, sacred ground and how dare them try to put a mosque here, how dare them,” said one opponent.
“I am a Muslim American and I think we need tolerance in this country,” said a supporter.
And seven stories below ground, there has been progress on the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
Dramatic touches are already on display like the 60-foot slurry wall; the so-called Last Column, the last piece of structural steel to be removed from the site; and the Survivors' Staircase, the last standing remnant at the WTC site.
Meanwhile, work continues on the reflecting pools in the tower footprints.
They and a grove of trees will form the memorial plaza, three-fourths of which should open in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The majority of the museum scheduled to be open by September 11th, 2012.