Freedom Tower -- The Journal
contributor Dick Sheppard, who works in an office directly
overlooking the World Trade Center site, hopes to track progress
of the ascent of Freedom Tower, which at 1776 feet will be [more]
previous journals, see bottom of this page.
11, 2006 and Tribute in Lights
2007 Installment of the Monthly Journal
the sidebar, Building Freedom Tower -- The Journal for introduction]
December 10, 2007
The Race for Tower 3 & 4 Foundations
Undoubtedly the present critical activity taking place in
rebuilding Lower Manhattan is the Port Authority of New York and
New Jerseyís race to complete the foundation preparation at the
WTC Tower 3 & 4 site, starting right at Church and Liberty
Streets and running north along Church. Developer Larry
Silverstein has already hired the foundation contractor, Yonkers
Contracting, and on January 1, 2008, he is expecting Yonkers to
start foundation work for towers 3 & 4. If they unable to
because the Port Authority hasnít completed its work,
Silverstein is eligible to collect $3 million dollars in
penalties each day that Yonkers canít start. (A few recent news
articles have painted Yonkers in an unflattering light vis-ŗ-vis
some reputed organized crime connections. In New York City
construction? No way! )
Tower 3 and 4 Foundation and Street Above
To an amateurís eye, the area in question, at the very southeast
corner of the WTC site, looks nearly ready for building. The
bathtub walls, installed months ago, are visible as earth has
been removed and foundation piles installed further inside that
quadrant. Workers have reached the very bottom of the siteís
ďfloor,Ē the bedrock. There are still two solid work-weeks
ahead, three really because with a $3 million dollar daily
penalty, there wonít be any slowing during the Christmas/New
Yearís week. There are two ten-hour shifts each day and even
when Iíve passed through the site on weekend evenings, there are
workers on site.
As someone who wants to see building steel rising above the
street grade, not just the foundation steel within the site, the
faster things happen, the better. These kinds of contracts
promising bonuses for early completion, and penalties for
delays, in this latter instance look like itís having an
intended effect. Silverstein did a creditable job getting 7
World Trade Center built quickly, and he must be anxious to see
his remaining WTC building responsibilities surging towards
completion. Larry is not a young man, heís elderly, and I pray
and root he will see the entire WTC rebuilt in his days.
Pedestrian traffic along Church Street from Liberty Street north
to Vesey Street is constrained by barricades. It gets crowded
during rush hours and there are only a few places to cross
Church Street, so pedestrian traffic often ďbacks upĒ as crowds
gather to wait the light changing. There are not street lights
and in the evenings, the whole stretch of road is comparatively
dark, which presents safety hazards. Right at Cortlandt Street
and Church Street, two construction flagmen act as crossing
guards of a sort.
Elsewhere at WTC
With all of the activity at the Tower 3 & 4 quadrant, activity
elsewhere at WTC continues, though without the same striking
visual change taking place where big penalty money is at stake.
The least activity occurs at the Memorial quadrant, where that
foundation has been anchored into the bedrock with steel and
reinforced concrete, and backfilled. There is little visual
evidence that the foundation exists, save for the outlines on
the flat, unbuilt, ground. This is the area generally under the
long, sloping access ramp which descends from south side of the
WTC sight northwards into the old North WTC Tower One footprint.
Through the Church Street fence --
At Freedom Tower
There are gradual visual changes within the Freedom Tower
footprint, though no new steel. The overall WTC site plan has
adapted to new realities: Freedom Tower was going to be the
first tower constructed, then roughly in order, Towers 2,3,4.
That changed as the Freedom Tower designed evolved, and the
other tower designs were finalized. There was going to be a hold
on Freedom Tower, and Tower 2 would be the first built. Now, to
demonstrate the commercial viability of rebuilding the entire
WTC site, Towers 3 & 4 will rise and presumably attract tenants,
creating the buzz and critical mass that will draw further
interest in the massive Freedom Tower and Tower 2. Though they
are not lifting structural steel into place, the two Freedom
Tower cranes are nonetheless busy creating the center core
foundation infrastructure for Freedom Tower. Some of that work
takes place down inside the PATH tunnels which snake around the
north and northwest portion of the Freedom Tower site. In
addition, the Fulton Street understructure just alongside the
south side of Freedom Tower has nearly reached street level. The
wall for that understructure dominates the Freedom Tower site.
A view into Freedom
Tower foundation from Vesey-West St overstreet pedestrian
If the Goldman Sachs building going up diagonally across West
Street from Freedom Tower is a guide, once the foundations are
in place at 3 & 4, the steel will rise quickly. But then again,
at one point, Goldman had 4 cranes operating, which is a
tremendously costly effort. The Goldman steel isnít topped out
yet, but the lower floors are being enclosed, and by this time
next year, it seems that building will be fairly finished.
Looking at the Goldman building from the east, itís a rather
ordinary looking building, but from the south and west, you can
see a sweeping faÁade facing the river side of the building
thatís very dramatic.
A view into Freedom Tower foundation
wall across back of site is Fulton Street understructure.
Twin Freedom Tower
cranes at work.
Close up of Fulton
Street understructure wall just south Freedom Tower footprint.
At various times and places, construction crews remove the
concrete slabs that cover the Dey Street underground pedestrian
passageway. Most of the work is being done under these concrete
slabs, and sometimes you can see between the cracks of the slabs
and see a lighted area underneath, being dug out and finished
into a passageway.
It has to be pretty deep, because in order to access the
northbound 4-5 train lines which run under Broadway, pedestrians
will have to go under those tracks, so that requires a very deep
passage. I think thatís the plan, I donít think there is enough
space between the top of the subway lines and the street to have
pedestrians access the northbound lines by going over the top.
This passageway should be completed during 2008.
Fulton Transit Hub
Unfortunately, I donít have a birdís eye view of the Hub as I do
for the WTC site, but I would surmise that they are digging a
deep foundation at present, which will link all of the
surrounding subways and link to the Dey Street passage coming
east from Church Street and the WTC.
Still no activity on the Deutsch Bank demo, you can in your
mindís eye image that had they continued working these three
months since the fire, I would be looking a long way down onto
the disappearing building. As it is, Iíd bet itís not going to
be gone much before the end of 2008, if they donít start soon.
It looks as if the only work done on the building since the fire
is that they replaced the empty windows, which were previously
enclosed with plywood, they are now enclosed with corrugated
Just west of Deutsche, the 90 West Street building, a Cass
Gilbert-designed beauty, suffered a basement sewage flood
causing all of the residents to evacuate.
There is still a lot of understreet work at Fulton and Broadway,
infrastructure work that extends east down the entire length of
Fulton. This creates yet more pedestrian constraints, a problem
that the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center admits will
get much worse in 2008 before improving (maybe?) in 2009. I
would think getting the Dey Street passage done would help a
little along Church Street.
of Church Street outside Century 21 dept store.
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