Friday, August 24, 2007

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 5

While the mess with the Deutsche Bank building puts a damper on rebuilding and reconstruction efforts, all is not lost for Lower Manhattan as Larry Silverstein has unveiled an intriguing skyscraper design at 99 Church, which is two blocks North of Ground Zero. 99 Church is where Moody's currently has downtown space. Moody's is moving into 7WTC, which makes this move make sense. Both buildings are owned by Silverstein, who bought 99 Church last year.

Let's just say that Silverstein continues to deliver where others have failed. This design works on many levels - both as a glass curtain wall building, but one that has elements that trace back to the Woolworth Building down the block.

As for the design itself, the crowning features are the building's crown, which will be what most people will see at a distance. I'm not sure I like the revised base, which is more stark and blockish than the original design, but if this gets built as the renderings indicate, it will be a most impressive space.

Meanwhile, the MTA is in the final stages of demolition on the site where the Fulton Transit Center will be located. This project has been over budget, but it is supposed to improve transit options and efficiencies for commuters who will be able to access PATH and the subways without going outside. One has to recall that the subway systems were built at the beginning of the last century by competing business interests, so they had different routings and linking up the various lines is a complex and costly affair.

The project has already been scaled back because of cost concerns, which makes me wonder what other corners will be cut to make the underground connections happen - the signature glass structure has been scaled back thus far.

The South Ferry subway station should be completed by the end of the year, which will greatly improve reliability of the 1 train.

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