January 25, 2011 By Hilton Collins
We will rebuild: We’re going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger,” Rudy Giuliani said after 9/11. “The skyline will be made whole again.”
As the mayor of New York City at the time, he had to say something to attempt to comfort New Yorkers after hijackers purposely crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of Manhattan’s World Trade Center (WTC) nearly 10 years ago.
The Twin Towers and five other WTC buildings were damaged or destroyed on what’s now called “ground zero.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated that 10 major buildings suffered partial or total collapse, and 30 million square feet of office space was put out of commission.
So far, bureaucratic gridlock has made it tough to fulfill Giuliani’s promise. Larry Silverstein, owner of Silverstein Properties, owns a 99-year lease on the property, but ground zero is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The groups haven’t agreed on how to rebuild, and construction efforts today are years behind schedule and overbudget.
Though the new 7 World Trade Center building was completed in 2006, much of ground zero reconstruction is far from finished. And in 2010, Silverstein told CBS that the lack of completion was a “national disgrace.”
That’s something the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) intends to change. And the people there had better change it — according to LMCCC Executive Director Robert Harvey, what’s bad for Manhattan is bad for the rest of the city.
“As Wall Street goes, the economy of New York City goes,” he said.
The LMCCC’s mission is to facilitate reconstruction and all of the communication and coordination that comes with bringing developers, public agencies, businesses and residents together to make it happen. Manhattan’s southern portion is the hub of city business and government.
“Our whole issue is just simply to help turn this into a vital 24/7 community where people will work and live,” Harvey said.
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