’Freedom Tower’ Groundbreaking Set for July 4 in NYC

Tue May 18, 2004 - National Edition

NEW YORK (AP) Saying New Yorkers can “begin to reclaim our skyline,” Gov. George Pataki on May 5 set a July 4 date to break ground on the 1,776-ft. Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site.

“On July 4, as we commemorate the founding of our nation, we lay the foundation for our resurgence,” Pataki said.

The date is well ahead of Pataki’s stated goal of breaking ground by late summer on the project. The announcement came weeks before Republican delegates will arrive in the city for their national convention.

“America and the world will witness as our plans go from paper to steel,” Pataki said.

Organizers say the tower will be the world’s tallest building, with a spire meant to evoke images of the Statue of Liberty. It will be built on the northwest side of the trade center site, not the footprints of the vanished twin towers.

The plan calls for a cable suspension structure that creates an open area above the building’s 70 floors of office space, and houses windmills to generate energy.

Freedom Tower is expected to be finished in 2009, and the full trade center site by 2013, as part of the effort to redevelop lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Pataki said a complete design of the Sept. 11 victims memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” would be finished by the end of the year and construction would start in 2006.

Private donors will need to raise money to build the memorial, which is budgeted for at least $350 million.