A major milestone will be reached at Ground Zero next month when every project within the original World Trade Center site will be under construction — a heartening leap forward for a venture that’s been plagued by constant delays.
The push comes as a result of a tentative deal between the Port Authority and developer Larry Silverstein — bitter enemies throughout most of the construction project, but now acting like team players.
Silverstein is moving forward even before a final pact is signed to start work on Tower 2 and Tower 3, which he plans to build to at least ground level even if he can’t finish the structures immediately.
Silverstein’s Tower 4 is well above street level, with steel reaching the sixth floor and expectations that the pace will pick up this summer.
Above- WTC 3
Foundation work has already begun on Tower 3, where Silverstein will build its five-story base — and follow with the complete building once he has leased a minimum amount of space inside.
Work to build Tower 2 up to grade will begin this summer.
All of Silverstein’s towers are crucial, since they contain mechanical systems shared with the transit hub and retail concourses.
“There is no question we are seeing real progress and momentum, but now is not the time for celebration. Now is the time to keep our heads down and keep the momentum going,” said Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward.
On the western half of the site, the Freedom Tower, now called 1 WTC, is roughly 25 stories high and will hit 50 stories by the end of the year.
Just to the south, the memorial is nearing completion. Over 99 percent of its steel is in place and the two enormous pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers are now being lined with granite.
The memorial will open on Sept. 11, 2011, complete with its forest of 400 trees.
One of the attractions for visitors to the memorial will be the bird’s eye view of construction, said memorial president Joseph Daniels.
“It’s good to see the other projects around the site moving ahead,” he said.