11.9.01

1,776 ft. Freedom Tower Going Back to World Trade Center Name

In 9/11 News on March 29, 2009 at 11:16 am

No more Freedom Tower:

The tower — still under construction with a projected completion date of 2013 — no longer has the same architect, design or footprint on the 16-acre site. And this week, the owners of ground zero publicly parted ways with the Freedom Tower name, saying it would be more practical to market the tallest building in New York as the former north tower’s name, One World Trade Center.

Even without the name, the symbolism of the Freedom Tower as an American response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was hard to miss.

The original architect designed a twisting form he wanted to imitate the Statue of Liberty, with a spire that rose to the deliberate height of 1,776 feet to recognize the year of American independence. Politicians called the tower proof of the country’s triumph over terrorism.

Former Gov. George Pataki said visitors to the iconic skyscraper “will know our determination to overcome evil” in a 2003 speech that first gave the Freedom Tower its name.

Critics called the name drop an unpatriotic shedding of symbolism by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Newspaper editorials blasted the agency for years of missed deadlines and changing plans for the site.

“When you’ve broken your promises on everything else to do with redeveloping ground zero, it’s no big deal to discard the name by which the public has come to know the iconic skyscraper at the heart of the plan,” the New York Daily News wrote on Friday.

Could name attract attacks?
But others privately repeated fears that have plagued the building as negotiations with major corporations to take up space in the tower came and went: that the 102-story Freedom Tower’s name could make it more susceptible to future attacks than a symbol of defiance against it.

“The fact is, more than 3 billion dollars of public money is invested in that building and, as a public agency, we have the responsibility to make sure it is completed and that we utilize the best strategy to make certain it is fully occupied,” the agency said in a statement Friday.

Agency chairman Anthony Coscia was more critical in remarks Thursday, when the Port Authority announced its first corporate lease at the tower with a Chinese business center.

“As we market the building, we will ensure the building is presented in the best possible way,” he said. One World Trade Center is “easiest for people to identify with, and frankly, we’ve gotten a very interested and warm reception to it.”

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