It’s finally official — the first building to be developed on Ground Zero will be the 1,776-ft. "Freedom Tower." The building will boast 2.6 million sq. ft. of office space within 60 stories.
The announcement was made Friday after several months of infighting between two of the project’s lead architects — Daniel Libeskind and David Childs. Childs was tapped by Larry Silverstein, who holds the commercial rights to develop the site.
The tower is estimated to cost $1.5 billion, and if built it will be the world’s tallest building. The top 276 feet of the tower will be a steel spike that is expected to host several transmission antennae.
The tower’s construction is slated to begin in September 2004. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, has promised to occupy one-third of the tower’s office space. But no commercial tenants have pledged to lease space in the building yet.
Published reports have depicted the relationship between architects Libeskind and Childs as difficult. Their competing visions for the design ultimately forced Gov. George Pataki into the fray over the past few weeks. The announcement suggests that Pataki’s intervention helped them reach a compromise on the design.
Still, the funding for the tower will be coming from insurance proceeds that are anything but certain to be paid out. Silverstein Properties has been in litigation with several of its insurers over the past year. The case will go before a jury next year.