Now soaring at its symbolic 1,776 feet, 1 World Trade Center is nearly done and only two years away from completion — though for local business owners, the new tenants and commuters cannot get there fast enough.
For years, it remained heartbreakingly incomplete, a painful reminder of the worst terror attacks in U.S. history and a shameful symbol of bureaucratic infighting.
But finally, after 12 years, the new World Trade Center is finally taking shape.
Silverstein Properties A rendering of what the new World Trade Center project site will look like when all buildings are complete. One World Trade Center (left) is near completion and is currently the tallest structure in the nation.
The centerpiece of the site, 1 World Trade Center, now soars 1,776 feet into the air, towering over lower Manhattan. The 72-story 4 World Trade Center is slated to open in two months. And the long-delayed National September 11 Memorial Museum is expected to welcome its first visitors next year.
“For a number of years, there were a lot of fits and starts,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents the downtown area.“But everyone got their act together and it’s going ahead.” Rebuilding the site hasn’t come cheap — or easy.
In 2008, the project was estimated to cost $11 billion to complete. The latest projection pegs the total bill to run close to $15 billion.
In the years after Sept. 11, 2001, then-Gov. George Pataki and the Port Authority struggled to move the project forward.The squabbling led to staggering construction delays, rising costs and a devastating hit on local businesses, which long depended on the thousands of World Trade Center workers.
But now, with construction on the skyscraper at the heart of the site nearing completion, they are hopeful that brighter days are on the horizon.
“I’m optimistic,” said Pat BiTillio, 65, who has been running Majestic Pizza on Cortlandt St. for 16 years.
“I better be at my age.”
BiTillio said the twin blows of the terror attacks and the financial crisis have cut his profits by as much as 40%.“There are no business accounts,” added BiTillio, who has spent countless hours staring forlornly at the site.
“That’s what we’re missing.”
Much more work needs to be done.
The gargantuan World Trade Center Transportation Hub, originally slated to open in 2006, is not expected to welcome its first commuters until 2015.
One World Trade Center now soars atop the Manhattan skyline, as the nation’s new tallest building.
Construction on the 88-story skyscraper billed as 2 World Trade Center, which has been built only to street level, has been halted until developer Larry Silverstein can find the tenants to fill it.
And 3 World Trade Center, now just a seven-story stump, is projected to be completed in 2016 at the earliest.