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Freedom Tower to rise 1,776 feet from ashes

Antenna raises structure's height to more than 2,000 feet

From Phil Hirschkorn

An artist's rendering of a night view of the proposed Freedom Tower, center, as seen from the south. At left are the Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty.
An artist's rendering of a night view of the proposed Freedom Tower, center, as seen from the south. At left are the Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty.

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A look at the model of the Freedom Tower.
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New York
September 11 attacks
Acts of terror

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Freedom Tower to be built at the site of the devastated World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan is still planned as the world's tallest building, according to a revised model unveiled Friday by the architects collaborating on its design.

The tower, to be a centerpiece of the rebuilding plan for the World Trade Center site, is to rise 1,776 feet -- a nod to the year the United States declared its independence. The height was originally proposed a year ago by architect Daniel Libeskind, since designated the site's master planner.

In addition, a broadcast antenna attached to the tower is to bring the structure's total height above 2,000 feet.

The tower's angular shape and appearance has been altered as a result of Libeskind's work with David Childs, the architect for real estate developer Larry Silverstein, the trade center leaseholder who aspires to replace all 10 million square feet of commercial space lost in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The intentional crashes of hijacked passenger jets leveled the 110-story twin towers and five smaller buildings, and killed 2,752 people.

Libeskind and Childs, forced to work together by rebuilding officials, were asked to submit a final design this week by New York Gov. George Pataki, who wants to break ground on the Freedom Tower next September, which coincides with the Republican National Convention in New York City and the third anniversary of the attacks.

"We will build it in honor of the memories of the heroes we lost," Pataki said at the unveiling ceremony at historic Federal Hall, just blocks from Ground Zero. "We will build it to show the world that freedom will always triumph over terror and that we will face the 21st century and beyond with tremendous confidence."

Childs said the tower would satisfy the public's expressed desire for an "exclamation point" on the skyline.

"It must be iconic. Simple and pure in its form, a memorable form, that would proclaim the resiliency and the spirit of our democracy," he said.

He and Libeskind quarreled over the design in recent weeks but were all smiles Friday.

Libeskind said, "It's not just easy. It's not just a couple of meetings. It's a struggle to create something great."

Topped by wind turbines

Freedom Tower is to rise 70 floors and be topped by wind-harvesting turbines that designers predict will provide 20 percent of the building's energy.

The tower's height of 1,776 feet, symbolic for the year of American independence, includes a 276-foot spire.

The torqued tower -- its east and west sides twist as they rise -- and the spire are meant to echo the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The tower is to have a concrete core and be encased in a steel cable netting that will brace the building. Childs likened the cables to suspension bridge cables, such as those holding up the Brooklyn Bridge.

The building is to include 2.6 million square feet of commercial space, which would be on the market when the tower is completed in 2008.

Silverstein said he is not worried that no tenants are yet committed to move in.

"We have a hiatus of five years before the building is finished. It's early to be talking about occupancy five years hence," Silverstein said. "However, there are sufficient number of discussions with potential major space users, with significant needs in excess of a million square feet."

Charles Gargano, the vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the transportation agency that built the original trade center and owns the 16-acre site, said the agency would occupy as much as a third of the building.

Gargano estimated the tower's construction would cost $1.5 billion, or $1 million per 500 square feet.

Besides the public lobby, two concourse levels will house retail stores and provide pedestrian access to mass transit.

More than 60 floors will contain office space, capped by an indoor observation deck, a restaurant above that, and event space on top.

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