Thursday, 8 September 2016

The status of the World Trade Center complex, 15 years later

This Sunday marks 15 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during which thousands of New Yorker lost their lives, and the area surrounding the Twin Towers was all but destroyed.

Though it’s been a long road back for Lower Manhattan, the past decade and change—and the past three years in particular—have seen a lot of progress. Against all odds, there is a World Trade Center again, and while it’s not quite finished—and some parts are still up in the air—it’s getting closer and closer to completion.

Read on for a status report on the World Trade Center site, which has become the centerpiece of a booming Lower Manhattan.

One World Trade Center

The centerpiece of the new WTC stands 104 stories and 1,776 feet tall (including its somewhat controversial spire, which shines every night) and opened in 2014. Its design is the creation of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s David Childs. At the top of the building is One World Observatory, which opened in May 2014 and since welcomed more than three million visitors. The building’s three million square feet of rentable space is still not full (not odd at this point, given the history of other skyscrapers), but it is 70 percent leased and continues to attract new tenants. Condé Nast is the anchor tenant, with more than one-fifth of the building. Other tenants include Servcorp, the federal government’s General Services Administration, Moody’s, Ameriprise Financial, and Mic.

2 World Trade Center

Located at 200 Greenwich Street, 2 World Trade Center was initially due to be designed by Norman Foster. Then, after 21st Century Fox and News Corporation signed on as anchor tenants, the Foster designed was scrapped in favor of a boxy creation by Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels. But in another twist, Fox and News Corp. backed outof that deal, but the BIG design—calling for a 90-story tower standing 1,270 feet tall encompassing 2.8 million square feet—remains. As of right now, the building has been constructed to street level and a completion date has yet to be determined.

3 World Trade Center, still under construction.

3 World Trade Center

Located at 175 Greenwich Street, 3 World Trade Center is 80 stories tall and topped out at 1,079 feet in June. It will encompass 2.5 million square feet when complete. Anchor tenant GroupM already has a 20-year lease for 700,000 square feet. It will be joined by others, including jeweler Tiffany’s and London-based steakhouse Hawksmoor. The design is by architect Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018.

4 World Trade Center

4 World Trade Center sits immediately south of 3WTC at 150 Greenwich Street. The 72-story, 977-foot-tall building encompasses 2.3 million square feet, and was designed by Fumihiko Maki of the Tokyo-based architectural firm Maki & Associates. It opened in November of 2013, and was the first of the buildings in the historic 16-acre WTC complex to debut. It’s currently 80 percent leased, with retail tenants that include the new Eataly outpost (which opened earlier this summer), Banana Republic, and H&M.

5 World Trade Center

The address for 5WTC would be 130 Liberty Street if it actually comes to fruition. Nearly a decade ago, J.P. Morgan was due to anchor a new 42-story building designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, part of which would cantilever over the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. But the financial services firm backed out and the project has been on hold ever since. A Silverstein spokesperson confirmed that the Port Authority still owns the site, but there is no longer a design or development plan.

7 World Trade Center

Located at 250 Greenwich Street, 7 World Trade Center sits on 1.5 acres of land just north of the historic 16-acre World Trade Center campus, though it does serve as headquarters for WTC developer Larry Silverstein’s Silverstein Properties. The original 7WTC, completed in 1987 (and destroyed in the aftermath of 9/11), sat on the same site. The new structure stands 741 feet tall with a design by SOM’s David Childs. It was the first building rebuilt after 9/11, opening in May 2006. It encompasses 1.7 million square feet and is fully leased, with tenants including Fast Company, BMI, Moody’s, and Omnicom.

The 9/11 Memorial

Since the massive plaza opened on September 11, 2011, more than 26 million visitors have taken in its two waterfalls (known as "Reflecting Absence") in the footprints of the fallen Twin Towers. Some controversy was stirred in July when several Pokéman Go characters—including one that featured a skull and crossbones—popped up at the memorial. "It’s quite rude. This is a place to mourn innocent people who died because all of these politics, not for games," New Brunswick resident Jung Kim told the New York Post. "It makes me feel so sad."

National September 11 Memorial Museum

Usually known simply as the 9/11 Museum, the subterranean institution was dedicated on May 16, 2014, and opened to the public five days later. It features artifacts such as tridents from the Twin Towers, fire trucks and an ambulance from 9/11, and the remains of the old WTC broadcast antenna. More than 5.7 million people have visited since it opened. A new exhibition, "Rendering the Unthinkable: Artists Respond to 9/11," will open on September 12, showcasing pieces by 13 artists created in response to the terrorist attacks.

Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center

Located between the 1WTC and 2WTC sites, the site that will give way to the erstwhile PAC WTC is the current home of the now-closed temporary PATH station. In June, philanthropist Ronald Perelman donated $75 million in exchange for the naming rights for the building. The new design, by REX, was unveiled just this week. It should contain three reconfigurable and combinable theaters and a café, where not just performance attendees will be encouraged to enter. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2018 and opening should happen in 2019 or 2020.


This 150-foot-tall winged creation is the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It serves as a connector between the subway lines at Fulton Center, those at the World Trade Center, the PATH trains, Brookfield Place on the other side of West Street, and the ferry terminal in Battery Park City. Its centerpiece is a skylight set to open every September 11, which will debut this weekend. It also features a public plaza, set to open when 3WTC is completed. The Oculus has been plagued by years of delays, design cutbacks, cost overruns, and roof leaks; it eventually cost $4.4 billion.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

The main concourse of the Oculus and access to the PATH trains, opened in March. The passageway between it and Fulton Center opened in May. A tunnel connecting the World Trade Center to Brookfield Place actually opened in 2013. The temporary PATH station constructed after 9/11 will be demolished in late 2017 or early 2018.

Westfield World Trade Center

Almost as big a deal as the transit connector, the mall at the Oculus is also now open. The mall has 365,000 square feet of space for more than 100 retailers, including an Apple Store, Sephora, Kiehl’s, and other luxury brands. According to Westfield, what opened in August represents $1.2 billion of the $1.5 billion mall. The rest of it should open progressively in 2017 and 2018.

Liberty Park

This one-acre park occupies a site just south of the 9/11 Memorial, and cost $50 million to construct. It sits atop the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center, and overlooks the rest of the World Trade Center campus. It features some greenery, but a lot of pathways and both bench and bleacher seating. It opened in June.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

Located on-site with Liberty Park, this church will replace the one of the same name destroyed on when one of the Twin Towers collapsed on it on 9/11. The new structure is the second Santiago Calatrava design at the World Trade Center, and has elements that echo the design of the Oculus, if you open your mind. Construction could be complete as soon as next year.

See more photos of the site from early September right this way:


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