Freedom Tower features enhanced safety measures

Thursday, June 30, 2005

NEW YORK -- The proposed Freedom Tower at the former World Trade Center site, redesigned to address security concerns, will be the world's strongest and safest high-rise building, officials said Wednesday.

The tower will be straighter and squarer, will rise from a base clad in shimmering metal chosen for beauty and blast-resistance and will be topped with an illuminated spire.

The new design for the 1,776-foot tower is meant to make it more resistant to truck bombs. The building will now be 90 feet -- instead of 25 feet -- from West Street, the major north-south thoroughfare along the Hudson River.

Its main roof will be the same height as the fallen World Trade Center twin towers.

The tower's cubic base will be clad in luminous materials that will be light-reflective as well as blast-resistant, according to a description of the redesign by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

As in the original design, the structure outlined in the latest plan exceeds city fire code requirements, and will have biological and chemical filters in its air supply system.

It also has the original design's extra-wide emergency stairs, a dedicated staircase just for firefighters, enhanced elevators and "areas of refuge" on each floor.

Stairs, communications, sprinklers and elevators will be encased in 3-foot-thick walls.

The tower will be capped with a mast incorporating an antenna, meant to suggest the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

The plan for rebuilding the 16-acre site devastated by the Sept. 11, 2001, attack retains 2.6 million square feet of office space and an observation deck. Sixty-nine office floors will sit atop a 200-foot-high reinforced base.

Gov. George Pataki laid the tower's cornerstone on July 4, 2004, but the past year has seen more fighting than progress by the agencies and individuals with roles in the site's rebuilding.

Officials have said the concerns have probably delayed the tower's original 2009 ribbon-cutting, and the revised plan now calls for it to be ready for occupancy in 2010.


On the Net:

Redevelopment Corp.: http://www.renewnyc.com

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