Twenty years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan’s World Trade Center complex is nearly complete. But one tower still hasn’t got off the ground. After architecture firm changes and financing problems, developer Silverstein Properties said construction is set to begin in the coming months on 2 World Trade Center with a new design from Norman Foster’s Foster + Partners. As first reported by Commercial Observer, the developer is close to securing an anchor tenant, which would lead to a construction loan and the start of work within “the next six to 12 months.”
2 world trade center
Previous rendering of 2 World Center via DBOX, courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
It looks like Norman Foster’s design for 2 World Trade Center might rise after all. First unveiled in 2006, the original Foster + Partners proposal was scrapped in 2015 for Bjarke Ingels’ stacked tower, which was deemed more suitable to prospective media tenants. After leases with Fox and News Corp. fell through in 2016, the future of the tenant-less tower has remained uncertain. Absent any takers, developer Larry Silverstein is now pivoting back to the Foster vision, the New York Post reports. The old design is being “significantly modified to be more reflective of contemporary needs and taste,” Silverstein said.
Rendering of 2 World Center via DBOX, courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
Silverstein Properties, Inc. chairman Larry Silverstein has said construction may begin on the final World Trade Center tower before a committed tenant signs a lease, Bloomberg reports. Following work on the building’s foundation, the developer was waiting to progress with further work until a lease was signed. But optimism about the economy and strong leasing progress at neighboring towers may mean the building might rise “on spec.” The 2.8 million-square-foot office tower, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, will be the last of Silverstein’s four skyscrapers to occupy the site.
Foster’s original design
Nearly one year ago it was revealed that starchitect Bjarke Ingels would be taking over the design of 2 World Trade Center from Norman Foster as developer Silverstein Properties was in talks with Fox and News Corp. to make the tower their new headquarters. However, plans fell through in January when the media companies opted to remain at their Midtown headquarters at 1211 and 1185 Sixth Avenue.
Now without a tenant and two different designs in hand, Chairman Larry Silverstein is said to be weighing both options. “[The top of] Two was a distinguishing feature of Norman Foster’s design,” Silverstein told The Post. “Opposed to what Bjarke Ingels proposed. We can go in either direction. Which way, we are not sure yet.” But he did add that they were leaning towards Ingels’ design in discussions being had with prospective anchor tenants, which include BlackRock and JPMorganChase.
Architecture, Battery Park City, Carter Uncut, Features, Financial District, History, opinion, Urban Design
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us his fourth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the evolution of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Lower Manhattan at the start of the Great Depression was the world’s most famous and influential skyline when 70 Pine, 20 Exchange Place, 1 and 40 Wall Street, and the Woolworth and Singer buildings inspired the world with their romantic silhouettes in a relatively balanced reach for the sky centered around the tip of Lower Manhattan.
Midtown was not asleep at the switch and countered with the great Empire State, the spectacular Chrysler and 30 Rockefeller Plaza but they were scattered and could not topple the aggregate visual power and lure of Lower Manhattan and its proverbial “view from the 40th floor” as the hallowed precinct of corporate America until the end of World War II.
The convenience and elegance of Midtown, however, became increasingly irresistible to many.
Big news on the 2 World Trade Center front. After several months of negotiation and hashing out design plans, News Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. have decided not to move into the new tower. The Post first broke the news, reporting that the media companies will remain at their Midtown headquarters at 1211 and 1185 Sixth Avenue where they currently have a lease in effect until 2020.
“After much careful consideration we have decided to maintain our New York headquarters and other business operations. We have extension options that could continue our occupancy on Sixth Avenue through 2025,” the companies wrote in a joint statement. Sources added that the move would have been “a huge distraction for the companies’ global operations.”
2 World Trade Center rendering via BIG
The Post reports that the construction of the Bjarke Ingels Group-designed 2 World Trade Center will come with a $4 billion price tag. The 2.8 million-square-foot downtown tower will top out at 1,340 feet, just 28 feet shy of One World Trade Center, which currently holds the title of the world’s most expensive office building with construction costs coming in at $3.8 billion.
Original design of 3 WTC (L); Revised design without the roof masts (R)
Ever since starchitect Bjarke Ingels revealed renderings for 2 World Trade Center (after taking over the design from Norman Foster), the building has been the talk of the architecture world, especially since Ingels has been so generous about giving interviews to the press. The tower has now even influenced the architects of 3 World Trade Center (a.k.a. 175 Greenwich Street) to rethink their design. As Yimby reports, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have amended their plan for the third-tallest building on the site to have a more streamlined roof, now void of its spires, to better complement 2 World Trade.
Two World Trade Center rendering via Silverstein Properties
If you were still itching for more after Tuesday’s reveal of Bjarke Ingels’ design for Two World Trade Center, you’re in luck. The starchitect himself chatted with NY Yimby about his design process and inspirations behind the tower. He also revealed an interesting tidbit of information when asked when asked when he started the design process. “Let’s say in December,” he responded. Keep in mind, though, that word only broke about him replacing Norman Foster in April. Controversy aside, Ingels has a lot to say about this world-famous project, including why he thinks Foster’s plan was scrapped for his.
- Here’s a handy, interactive map of how many rats are in your neighborhood restaurants. [Gothamist]
- You know about the botanical gardens in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but did you know there’s one in Queens, too? [Queens Brownstoner]
- See the plans for the original Shake Shack scribbled on a piece of paper. [Business Insider]
- BLUMA is the cardboard flower carrier you never knew you needed. [Contemporist]
- Following the reveal of 2 World Trade Center, there’s a petition to stop such skyscrapers for fear they’re too easy for the likes of King Kong to climb. [Curbed]
- Bunny meetups are now a thing on the Upper West Side. [West Side Rag]
Images: Rat (L); BLUMA (R)