Ground Zero Renewal Features Green Building, Open Space
Plans for the rebirth of the World Trade Center site will move from “paper to steel” on Independence Day July 4th when ground will be broken on the Freedom Tower, New York Governor George Pataki announced Wednesday (May 5). The governor detailed plans for more open spaces to revitalize Lower Manhattan, and a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to change the image of the area from tragedy to vitality.
Speaking at an Association for a Better New York luncheon at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park City, the governor said, “On July 4th, as we celebrate the birth of our democracy, we also celebrate the rebirth of our city.”
The official groundbreaking on the 1,776 foot tall Freedom Tower office building will take place months ahead of schedule to mark the symbolic day. It will be nearly 300 feet taller than the world’s current tallest building, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Freedom Tower will be the world’s tallest building. It will incorporate state-of-the-art life safety systems such as biological and chemical filters in the air supply system, extra strong fireproofing, and areas of refuge located on each floor. Enhanced emergency communication cables together with a dedicated stair and elevator are provided for use by firefighters, and the lobby will be clad in blast-resistant glazing.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill says Freedom Tower “offers a unique opportunity to set new standards for sustainable development in highrise office buildings, not only in New York City and the United States, but also around the world.”
The project team is committed to achieving green building certification. Wind turbines located atop the building are proposed to provide 20 percent of the energy for the 70 floors of office, mechanical, and functional space. A viewing platform would be located at the top of the building and above that would be a broadcast tower at 1,776 feet.
The building’s orientation is optimized for wind harvesting as the building ascends and the form is designed to minimize pedestrian wind impact below. Freedom Tower will consume less energy than comparable buildings, and far less energy than the original WTC Twin Towers, the designers say.
Plans call for the use of ozone depleting chemicals to be reduced the cooling of Freedom Tower, sustainable materials and systems will be utilized, and rainwater will be collected and recycled.
Four other towers containing hotel and office space will share the site with Freedom Tower, the Memorial and a proposed performing arts center. Retail shops and restaurants are planned for two below-grade concourse levels.
All of this construction will follow the adoption and implementation of Sustainable Design Guidelines for the WTC commercial and open spaces, according to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement issued in April by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to assess the environmental impacts arising from the World Trade Center Memorial and Redevelopment Plan.
Plans call for the development of a new park, to be called Liberty Park, to serve workers and the growing number of residents in the surrounding areas. Fulton Street would be developed as a linked series of public open spaces.
Governor Pataki called on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to fund three new open space initiatives, Louise Nevelson Plaza, a study for Pace University’s “green roof,” and Hudson River Park’s Pier 40.
The damaged and collapsing Plaza, located at the corner of William Street and Maiden Lane, will be transformed into a tree filled open space with an outdoor cafe.
The LMDC will fund a study for Pace University’s Spruce Street building top, which will be converted into a 30,000 square foot green roof, with a public park and a research site for native plants, air quality, and stormwater capture. Green roofs respond to a need for innovative solutions to urban environmental and human health problems in New York City, such as increasing pressure from rising temperatures, excessive energy use, and pollution from stormwater runoff.
And Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 project will turn a parking lot into a new recreational field of more than three acres. The field will be large enough to run two games of baseball simultaneously and is planned to make Hudson River Park a premier sports venue for youth leagues, high school sports, and adult recreation.
The timeline for creation of the Memorial has set a date of 2006 for construction to begin, Governor Pataki announced. A full schematic design executed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker with associate architect Max Bond will be complete by the end of 2004. Construction drawings will be finished by 2005 and construction on the Memorial will begin in 2006, he said.
The governor also announced that Major League Baseball, the Baseball Players Association, and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund are jointly contributing the first $1 million donation to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation Center.
The governor called upon the LMDC to offer funding and assistance to family groups for the creation of a space near the World Trade Center site to serve as a welcoming center where family members, survivors, residents and visitors can preserve their memories through audio recordings, writings, and archives.
“For family members, the memorial process itself has been a sometimes cathartic and sometimes painful experience,” the governor said. “It has been filled with honest differences of opinion and powerful streams of emotion. Even while Arad’s memorial is in development, we will offer family members a place to remember their loved ones in peace – and a place to come together in unity.”
On May 26, at the American Institute of Architects meeting, the design for the Fulton Transit Center will be unveiled, Pataki said. The new hub will link 12 subway lines serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.
When the permanent PATH terminal and the Fulton Transit Center are completed and connected through an underground concourse, Lower Manhattan will become “one of the most accessible business districts in the world,” he said.
The Port Authority ferry services between Lower Manhattan and both LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport are on schedule. Service to LaGuardia will begin this year and JFK Airport service will start in 2005, the governor said.
Construction on a new and expanded Battery Park City Ferry Terminal has begun. This new terminal will replace the temporary terminal and is expected to open for business in the spring of 2006.
Construction on the southern portion of the West Street promenade will begin in September, transforming this highway into a tree-lined promenade. The first section, Washington Street to West Thames Street, will be complete by the end of 2005.
By the time construction begins on the World Trade Center site, a single framework will be in place to coordinate all of the various construction projects taking place downtown. The Construction Command Center will serve as a one-stop shop for information and advisories on construction activities and traffic rerouting.
In addition to the construction on the World Trade Center Site, the major transportation infrastructure projects will be under construction, creating noise and dust and obscuring pathways through the neighborhood.
To complement the branding campaign and make downtown more hospitable during the construction, the LMDC will fund a wayfinding program. Signs will point the way to transportation hubs, cultural institutions and areas such as Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The signage will be flexible and when routes change due to construction so will the signs.
The Memorial and Memorial Center components alone are expected to generate a peak of seven to nine million visits in 2009, the first year of operation.
This number is projected to drop to an estimated 5.5 million visits in 2015 when all components of the redevelopment are complete.
This new tourism generated by the redeveloped site is expected to generate new visits at other places of interest in Lower Manhattan, supporting area businesses and enlivening the neighborhoods surrounding the World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower.
By 2015, the project site would have an expected employee population of approximately 40,550, most of whom—36,800—would be office workers.
The impact caused by the 9/11 disaster resulted in an overwhelming response from federal, state, and city agencies, and from individuals throughout the country volunteering time, money, and resources to the rebuilding process.
President George W. Bush declared Lower Manhattan a national disaster area, and $21 billion dollars was appropriated by the United States Congress to various government agencies to aid in the repair, restoration, and recovery efforts.
Federal, state, and local government initiatives have since been established to provide financial assistance to Lower Manhattan, and policy initiatives such as the New York Liberty Bond Program have been enacted to assist in the financing of rebuilding and revitalization efforts.
LMDC was allocated two grants totaling $2.783 billion that are administered through the Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Overall, the next 11 years of construction are intended to remove the post-disaster blighted conditions that now exist at the site. As the LMDC expresses it in the environmental impact study, the construction will create “a critical mass of mixed-use development that would help to restore Lower Manhattan as a vibrant central business district that attracts and retains businesses, residents, and visitors.”
Source: Environmental News Service (ENS).