The Status of the World Trade Center Complex, 17 years later
By Amy Plitt and Evan Bindelglass of CURBED New York
Today marks 17 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, during which thousands of New Yorkers lost their lives, and the area surrounding the Twin Towers was all but destroyed.
Though it’s been a long road back for Lower Manhattan, the past 17 years have seen a lot of progress. One World Trade Center, the centerpiece of the rebuilt complex, opened in 2014; since then, many other elements—including the 9/11 Memorial, a somber tribute to victims of the attack—have come to fruition. While the complex isn’t quite finished, and some parts are still up in the air, it’s getting closer and closer to completion.
One World Trade Center
The centerpiece of the new WTC stands 104 stories and 1,776 feet tall (including its somewhat controversial spire, which shines every night). Its design is the creation of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s David Childs. At the top of the building is One World Observatory, which opened in May 2015.
The building’s three million square feet of rentable space is still not full, but it still has Condé Nast as its anchor tenant (though with not quite as much space as when the media giant first signed its lease back in 2011). Other tenants include Servcorp, the federal government’s General Services Administration, Moody’s, Ameriprise Financial, and Mic.
2 World Trade Center
Located at 200 Greenwich Street, 2 World Trade Center was initially going to be designed by Norman Foster. Then, after 21st Century Fox and News Corporation signed on as anchor tenants, the Foster designed was scrapped in favor of a boxy creation by Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels. But in another twist, in 2016, Fox and News Corp. backed out of that deal, but the BIG design—calling for a 90-story tower standing 1,270 feet tall encompassing 2.8 million square feet—remains.
As of right now, the building is still due to rise, but the when will depend on snagging an anchor tenant for the skyscraper, which Silverstein Properties is still in the process of doing. In the meantime, several murals have been added to the site where the building will eventually stand.
3 World Trade Center
Ten years after the official groundbreaking for 3 World Trade Center, the 80-story tower finally opened in June. Manhattan’s fifth-tallest building (for now) encompasses 2.5 million square feet, with the first five floors given over to retail, though several planned restaurants have abandoned plans to move into the skyscraper. It also connects to the WTC Transportation Hub.
The building’s anchor tenant, GroupM, already has a 20-year lease for 700,000 square feet. Other commercial tenants include consulting firm McKinsey, and stock exchange IEX. The design is by architect Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
4 World Trade Center
This 72-story, 977-foot-tall building encompasses 2.3 million square feet, and was designed by Fumihiko Maki of the Tokyo-based architectural firm Maki & Associates. It opened in November of 2013, and was the first of the buildings in the historic 16-acre WTC complex to debut. Five years after it opened, the building is fully leased, with Spotify becoming the latest big tech company to make the move to the complex.
4WTC also connects to the WTC Transportation Hub and the shopping center within the Oculus, with retail tenants that include Eataly, Banana Republic, and H&M.
5 World Trade Center
Nearly a decade ago, J.P. Morgan was due to anchor a new 42-story building designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, part of which would cantilever over the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. But plans change: There is no longer a design or development plan for the site.
7 World Trade Center
Located at 250 Greenwich Street, 7 World Trade Center sits on 1.5 acres of land just north of the historic 16-acre World Trade Center campus. The original 7WTC, completed in 1987 (and destroyed in the aftermath of 9/11), sat on the same site. The new structure stands 741 feet tall with a design by SOM’s David Childs. It was the first building rebuilt after 9/11, opening in May 2006. The 1.7 million-square-foot building is fully leased, with tenants including Fast Company, BMI, Moody’s, and Omnicom.
National September 11 Memorial Museum
The official memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks debuted in two parts. The memorial itself, a large open-air plaza, opened on September 11, 2011. Since then, more than 37 million visitors have taken in its two waterfalls (known as “Reflecting Absence”) in the footprints of the fallen Twin Towers.
The 9/11 Memorial.
The museum was dedicated on May 16, 2014, and opened to the public five days later. It features artifacts such as tridents from the Twin Towers, fire trucks and an ambulance from 9/11, and the remains of the old WTC broadcast antenna, and more than 150 new artifacts were put on view in 2016 alone. Nearly 11 million people have visited since it opened.
Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center
The site that will give eventually way to the erstwhile WTC PAC is located between 1 and 2 WTC. In 2016, philanthropist Ronald Perelman donated $75 million in exchange for the naming rights for the building. The new design, by REX, was unveiled the same year, and will contain three reconfigurable and combinable theaters and a café, where not just performance attendees will be encouraged to enter.
Earlier this year, Port Authority granted a 99-year lease for the venue, and after a slight setback, construction is now underway.
Two years after it opened, this 150-foot-tall winged creation, the work of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, has become a lower Manhattan landmark. The striking architectural piece is the topper for the larger WTC Transportation Hub, with a skylight that opens every September 11 as its centerpiece.
It’s also home to the Westfield World Trade Center mall, which has 365,000 square feet of space for more than 100 retailers, including an Apple Store, Sephora, Kiehl’s, and other luxury brands. The total cost for all of this ended up being north of $4 billion.
One of the final pieces of the puzzle that is the WTC Transportation Hub finally opened this month: The MTA unveiled the new subway stop at Cortlandt Street, now dubbed WTC Cortlandt, which sits within the footprint of the old 1 stop that was destroyed on 9/11. The new subway stop also features an installation by artist Ann Hamilton that incorporates text from the Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The hub connects myriad transportation options in lower Manhattan, including the subway lines at Fulton Center, those at the World Trade Center, the PATH trains, and the ferry terminal in Battery Park City.
This one-acre park occupies a site just south of the 9/11 Memorial, and cost $50 million to construct. It sits atop the World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center, and overlooks the rest of the World Trade Center campus.
In addition to having greenery and plenty of seating, the park is also now home to Fritz Koenig’s Sphere, which was placed between the Twin Towers when they opened back in the 1970s. It was badly damaged on 9/11, and sat within Battery Park until 2017.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Located within Liberty Park, this church will replace the one of the same name destroyed when one of the Twin Towers collapsed on it on 9/11. However, when that will happen is currently up in the air: Construction stopped at the site last year amid larger questions of financial solvency for the Greek Orthodox church. A spokesperson for the church confirms that progress is on hold as they figure out next steps and fundraising.
The new structure is the second Santiago Calatrava design at the World Trade Center, and has elements that echo the design of the Oculus.