World Trade Center complex inches toward completion

Michael Williams

One World Trade Center has long been becoming a part of our downtown neighborhood. Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed the skyscraper to be 104 stories and 1,776 feet, symbolic of the year 1776 when the United States declared its independence. Already the tallest unfinished structure, it is set to be the highest in all of the Western Hemisphere once completed.

One of the final stages of construction began recently with the installation of the spire atop the tower, set to be completed in about two months. Before students left for winter break, the eighteen separate pieces of the spire were lifted to the top of One World Trade Center on December 17, 2012. Although there is no definite date yet established for the completion of the entire tower, One World Trade Center is expected to be completed in late 2013 or early 2014.

Other buildings in the process of construction are Two World Trade Center, Three World Trade Center, and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub which is constructed in a very post-modern architecture style. One World Trade Center however, is the main skyscraper of this new complex, and will also connect to the numerous restaurants and shops that are included in the Westfield World Trade Center (Seven World Trade Center). With the dawn of a new building, there is bound to be innovative technology. One World Trade Center will have a reinforced concrete core, high-performance curtain wall, 54 high-speed destination dispatch passenger elevators, a 55 foot high main lobby, five large service cars serve all office floors, high-quality filtered air, double-height sky lobby, 13 loading docks, 71 office floors, and for all the environmentalists out there, 90 percent of occupied spaces will use natural light.

One World Trade Center is one of the most desirable office addresses and has already leased its property to several companies. Condé Nast has rented out floors 20 through 44. The publishing company owns a majority of the media brands including consumer magazines (GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue), websites, mobile apps, and business-to-business magazines. Condé Nast announced in June 2011 that they would be relocating from their current location on 42nd street in midtown to the One World Trade Center in 2014, a move that will surely give a boost to the vibrancy downtown.

The General Services Administration, which is an independent agency representing the United States government, has already obtained floors 50 through 55. The China Center has also attained space in One World Trade Center on the floors 64 through 69. According to their mission statement, the China Center is “a modern sanctuary for cultural exchange, conversation between the east and west, and a home for China in the city of influence.”

The university had real estate in the original Twin Towers, owning the entire 55th floor in the North Tower of the World Trade Center before the attacks on September 11. It was used for the university’s World Trade Institute and World Trade Conference Center. To make up for this devastating loss, the university acquired the buildings on 157 William Street, 161 William Street, and 163 William Street, but has no current plans in place for leasing any more property on the World Trade Center site.

Although the downtown skyline has changed significantly since the attacks in 2001— the Frank Gehry building and One World Trade Center being the major changes—the completed World Trade Center site promises to drastically chage the skyline even more. With 2WTC and 3WTC completed, New Yorkers will be able to add two more glasspaneled skyscrapers to their vision of the skyline.

The changes promise to continue to build downtown as a trendy and economically vibrant area. Freshman Erica Newell explains, “When construction is completed, more jobs will be provided and overall, will make a symbolic statement along the New York City skyline.”

Jason M. Davis, also a freshman, agrees. “The new World Trade Center will bring a lot of business to Lower Manhattan and will also serve as a tourist attraction for many years to come.”

Undoubtedly, the completion of the towers will signify the reconstruction of America as a whole. Although the skyscrapers will stand next to the memorial for the original towers, they will mark a significant recovery for Americans eager for a symbol of pride and resurrection in New York City.