World Trade Center (2001-present) (Johnsonverse)

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World Trade Center in September 2013.png
The complex as seen in September 2013
Status: Completed
Location: New York City
Coordinates: 40°42′42″N
Groundbreaking: 2002
Construction started: June 1, 2003
Completed: 1 WTC: April 6, 2005
2 WTC: April 12, 2005
3 WTC: July 10, 2006
4 WTC: July 19, 2006
5 WTC: August 26, 2006
6 WTC: February 12, 2008
7 WTC: January 19, 2006
Opening: 1 WTC: May 24, 2005
2 WTC: May 24, 2005
3 WTC: November 12, 2006
4 WTC: November 12, 2006
5 WTC: November 12, 2006
6 WTC: June 17, 2008
7 WTC: June 4, 2006
Owner: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Johnson Real Estate, The Durst Organization

The World Trade Center is a complex of buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, U.S., replacing the original seven buildings on the same site that were destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The site features One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center, along with five other buildings, a memorial and museum to those killed in the attacks, and the elevated Liberty Park adjacent to the site, containing the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Vehicular Security Center. The 115-story One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center (known collectively as the Twin Towers 2) are the lead buildings for the complex.

The buildings are among many created by the World Trade Centers Association. The original World Trade Center comprised the Twin Towers, which opened in 1973 and were the tallest buildings in the world at the time of their completion. They were destroyed on the morning of September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the complex in a coordinated act of terrorism. The attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2,753 people. The resulting collapse of the World Trade Center caused structural failure in the surrounding buildings as well. The process of cleaning up and recovery at the World Trade Center site took eight months, after which rebuilding of the site commenced.

After much controversy, reconstruction at the World Trade Center site started on June 1, 2003. The new complex includes One World Trade Center, 2 World Trade Center, 3 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, 5 World Trade Center, 6 World Trade Center, and 7 World Trade Center. The new World Trade Center complex also includes a museum and memorial. 1 and 2 World Trade Center opened on May 24, 2005, making them the first two buildings to have been completed in the World Trade Center complex. 7 World Trade Center opened on June 4, 2006, and 3, 4, and 5 World Trade Center opened on November 12 of that year. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum opened on September 11, 2007, and 6 World Trade Center opened on June 17, 2008, completing the complex.

Original complex and 9/11

The original World Trade Center in March 2001

The original World Trade Center contained the Twin Towers, which were the tallest buildings in the world after they opened on April 4, 1973. The other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), as well as 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. Despite high financial expectations for the original complex, it did not become profitable until the 1980s. On July 24, 2001, the Port Authority finalized an agreement that leased the complex to Johnson Real Estate, a division of Johnson Industries. For $3.2 billion, Johnson received the legal right to operate the complex and site for 99 years. At the time, the World Trade Center only had a few notable tenants, and Johnson CEO Sheldon Johnson, Jr. wanted to improve the complex to make it more attractive to potential tenants.

These plans for improvement were never realized. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the Twin Towers in a coordinated act of terrorism. At 8:46 a.m. Eastern Time (ET), a team of five hijackers intentionally crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the northern facade of the North Tower. At 9:03 a.m. ET, a second team of five hijackers intentionally crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the southern facade of the South Tower. After burning for 56 minutes, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m. At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower collapsed, after burning for 102 minutes. The attacks on the World Trade Center killed 2,753 people. The resulting collapse caused structural failure in many of the surrounding buildings as well, and the entire complex was soon destroyed.

The process of cleaning up and recovery at the World Trade Center site continued 24 hours a day over a period of eight months. Debris was transported from the World Trade Center site to Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, where it was further sifted. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was tasked with coordinating the cleanup and recovery effort. On May 30, 2002, a ceremony was held to officially mark the end of the cleanup efforts.

In 2002, ground was broken on construction of a new 7 World Trade Center building located just to the north of the main World Trade Center site. Since it was not part of the site master plan, the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center was allowed to proceed without delay, but 7 WTC owner Larry Silverstein and Con Edison recognized that the rebuilding of the tower would have to be consistent with the master plan anyway. It called for reopening several streets that had been eliminated in the original complex, so the new 7 World Trade Center was designed so Greenwich Street, which had been blocked by the original 7 World Trade Center, could be continuous through the new complex. A temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center opened in January 2003, pending replacement by a permanent station designed by Santiago Calatrava.


In the months following the attacks, architects and urban planning experts held meetings and forums to discuss ideas for rebuilding the site. Outgoing Mayor Giuliani advocated for a "soaring memorial" to be the only thing at the World Trade Center site during his final speech as mayor. Meanwhile, Johnson wanted to construct a new World Trade Center as soon as possible, as he wanted to satisfy New Yorkers. George Pataki, the then-Governor of New York, controlled the Port Authority alongside the Governor of New Jersey and so was entitled to make the final decision regarding the site. He wished to balance the desires of people like Giuliani, who did not want any future development on the site, with those of people like Johnson, who wanted a new World Trade Center as soon as possible. In January 2002, New York City art dealer Max Protetch solicited 50 concepts and renderings from artists and architects, which were put on exhibit in his art gallery in Chelsea.

With the World Trade Center site, numerous stakeholders were involved, including lead stakeholder Johnson Real Estate, Silverstein, and the Port Authority. In addition, the victims' families, people in the surrounding neighborhoods, and others wanted input. In November 2001, Governor Pataki established the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) as an official commission to oversee the rebuilding process. In order to bypass the approval of the New York State Assembly, Pataki left out Sheldon Silver, the State Assemblyman for the area, from the decision-making process regarding the LMDC. The LMDC coordinated federal assistance in the rebuilding process and was tasked with working with the Port Authority, Johnson Real Estate, Larry Silverstein, and whoever was selected as the site's architects. The corporation also handled communication with the local community, businesses, the city of New York, and relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks. A 16-member board of directors, half appointed by the governor and half by the mayor of New York, governed the LMDC. The LMDC had questionable legal status regarding the restoration of the World Trade Center site, because the Port Authority owned most of the property and Johnson Real Estate had the legal right to redevelop the World Trade Center. However, the LMDC, in an April 2002 articulation of its principles for action, asserted its role in revitalizing lower Manhattan.

In April 2002, the LMDC sent out requests for proposals to redesign the World Trade Center site to 24 Manhattan architecture firms, but then soon withdrew them. The following month, the LMDC selected Beyer Blinder Belle as planner for the redesign of the World Trade Center site. The new 7 World Trade Center, which was not part of the new plan, began construction on May 7, 2002. On July 16, 2002, Beyer Blinder Belle unveiled six concepts for redesigning the World Trade Center site. The roughly 5,000 New Yorkers that submitted feedback deemed all six designs to be "poor", so the LDMC announced a new international, open-design study. In an August 2002 press release, the LMDC announced a design study for the World Trade Center site. The following month, the LMDC, along with New York New Visions – a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering, planning, landscape architecture and design organizations – announced that the Twin Towers would be reconstructed; this plan was sponsored by Donald Trump, who the Johnson family ironically has a huge contempt for. Johnson referred to the Twin Towers in an interview as "a symbol of defiance" and "an American icon".

Controversy and criticism

There was much debate regarding the future of Ground Zero following the destruction of the World Trade Center. Disagreement and controversy regarding who owned the property and what would be built there hindered construction at the site for two years. Many wanted the Twin Towers to be rebuilt, but at a taller height than before. The project for the new Twin Towers was called Twin Towers II, which was led by an informal organization called the Twin Towers Alliance. Others did not want anything built there at all or wanted the entire site to become a memorial. Finally, a master plan was agreed upon, which would feature the plans for the proposed Twin Towers II; the new towers were designed with a concrete core to make them stronger, preventing another terrorist attack similar to the September 11, 2001 attacks from happening. This also meant Greenwich Street was placed on an underground tunnel.


Early construction and final planning

Significant progress



A partial map of the complex.

Two towers, five smaller buildings, a 9/11 memorial and museum, the Austin J. Tobin Plaza, a mall, a transportation hub, a parking lot, a park, a church, and a performing arts venue occupy the new World Trade Center.


One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center (colloquially known as the Twin Towers II) are the centerpieces of the site. Both towers rise 1,475 feet above the ground, with 1 WTC also featuring a 383-foot-tall spire, bringing its height to 1,858 feet. The towers were designed and developed by American architect Herbert Belton and American engineer Kenneth Gardner. The lower levels are mainly used for commercial purposes, while the middle levels are for hotel space, and the upper floors are for residential and public space. Both towers are connected by multiple skybridges, with 2 WTC attached to 3 WTC.

Memorial and museum

The two indoor memorials, whose facades were constructed from pieces of those of the original twin towers, were built on their approximate footprints. At night, large blue searchlights emitted from the center roofs of the buildings turn on, giving the illusion of the sky shining on the site. A stairwell, known as Survivors' Staircase, was in the original World Trade Center, and was the last remaining original structure above ground level after the attacks. Both memorials feature various artifacts from the tragedy. There is also a large granite wall featuring the names of the victims of the attack, as well as a curved wall showing the names of rescue workers who assisted the victims' families and other New York citizens after the attack.

The North Memorial in 2011.

Retail space


Performing Arts Center


Austin J. Tobin Plaza

The Austin J. Tobin Plaza is the center area of the complex. It is an updated version of the original that also serves as a park. The centerpiece is a fountain featuring The Sphere, a sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig that was part of the original complex. It was restored to its pre-9/11 condition in July 2006.

Fiterman Hall

The logo for the