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Construction begins at 7 WTC.

Speedily and triumphantly, the first beam of the new 7 World Trade Center soared into the damp gray skies at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan as the two architects of the Freedom Tower denied further rumors of a crashing relationship. Gov. George Pataki and WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein ceremoniously scrawled their names onto the beam prior to their ascension to the first tenant floor of the new 7 WTC, which is slimmer than its predecessor.

Pataki emphasized the importance of the building serving as a gateway to the World Trade Center site, noting that it was the "last (building) to go down" in the Sept. 11 attacks "and the first to go back up."

Yet Silverstein noted that the Freedom Tower and the memorial will be the true symbols of the site.

"While 7 will serve as the gateway to the World Trade Center site, it is the Freedom Tower and the memorial that will serve as the desired elements of the site," he said.

Meanwhile the Freedom Tower's two architects, Daniel Libeskind and David Child's, refuted published reports that they were at an impasse with their design of the Freedom Tower, which, by Pataki's orders, must be submitted this week.

The two architects sat next to each other and chatted along with Dan Tishman, whose construction company will build the new 7 World Trade Center, and Charles Gargano, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

Tishman is the son of John Tishman, whose company built the former 7 WTC.

The first beam was lifted along with an American flag that was made by an Army Reserve sergeant, Laurence Provost, who was stationed in Afghanistan, and by several Afghani citizens who were grateful for the U.S. liberation of their country from Taliban rule.

Along the flag reads the inscription: "Made in Afghanistan in honor of September 11, 2001."

At 52 stories, the new building will be taller than the former 7 WTC, but will only contain 1.6 million rentable s/f of office space, 400,000 less than the two million s/f predecessor.

In order to re-open Greenwich Street, Silverstein agreed to give up 400,000 s/f of rental space, at an annual loss of nearly $24 million.

The building's first 10 floors will be taken up by the lobby and a Con Edison substation, a staple of 7 WTC that was destroyed in the attacks.

Con Edison installed the first transformers last month and is scheduled to have the substation running by next summer.

The building will be designed as a "Green Building" under the Core and Shell Building program and its safety features will exceed New York City code, Pataki said.
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Author:Moore, Peter
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Dec 17, 2003
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