Thursday, April 27, 2006

Construction begins on Freedom Tower

Reuters - One day after resolving issues between a developer and landowners, bulldozers rumbled into a giant pit on Thursday to begin construction of the glittering Freedom Tower skyscraper meant to symbolize New York's resilience to the September 11 attacks.

Rebuilding at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan began 4 1/2 years after the Twin Towers were destroyed by suicide hijackers who flew passenger planes into them.

The 1,776-foot (540-meter) tower will be among the tallest in the world.

"We are not going to just build low in the face of a war against terror," New York Gov. George Pataki said. "We are going to soar to new heights and reclaim New York's skyline."

The project had been delayed by acrimonious disputes over money, security and design but the last major issues were resolved on Wednesday with a deal between developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The site will include three other high rises plus a residential tower that will surround a memorial, museum and cultural center dedicated to what relatives of the September 11 victims consider a sacred site.

Construction is scheduled to be finished by 2011 or 2012.