Or at least that's what World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein promised yesterday, now that he and the Port Authority have agreed on terms that divvy up control of Ground Zero's various components. "I have instructed our construction team to mobilize into the site tomorrow so that we can begin construction of the Freedom Tower immediately," he told the media. The Port Authority says that the eastern section of the WTC site will be excavated by next year, in order for Silverstein to start building his towers (Towers 2, 3, and 4 in the plan). At this point, (Gothamist can barely remember what's supposed to be at Ground Zero, so we've been going back to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's website about the WTC site - but we're not sure if all the changes have been updated on it.)
Getting a move on the project is good for politicians, but will it be good for New Yorkers? The NY Times has some of the reasons why it might not, from an urban planning professor at Columbia saying, "The Freedom Tower is a disastrous idea that should be scratched," to the fact that construction costs are getting higher and higher, plus there's:
Some experts are even wondering whether there will be enough steel, concrete and curtain wall to build the four towers by 2012 at the same time that two baseball stadiums, the $2 billion Goldman Sachs headquarters, the $1.7 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Moynihan Station, 10,000 apartments and various subway projects are under construction.
It's a hard call - there's something satisfying about the government deciding to do something... but the something is still very ambiguous in terms of whether it'll be successful. Sadly, hindsight is what's 20/20.
In other Ground Zero news, the clean-up at the Deustche Bank buillding hit a snag when asbestos was found in areas thought to be originally cleared out. All the more reason for residents to become upset! And remember when the cornerstone was laid at Ground Zero? That's almost two years ago.
Update: The Freedom Tower groundbreaking happened this morning, with NY Governor Pataki, NJ Governor Corzine, Mayor Bloomberg and Silverstein all made up and "friends" now. Metaphors were flying, and the AP got a quote from Freedom Tower 2.0 designer David Childs about the Port Authority, his new client after Silverstein: "They've been looking at all our plans and endorsing it all along."
Photograph of groundbreaking from the AP