Rebuilding the World Trade Center

After years of rancorous debate, might New Yorkers finally see progress made at ground zero? A tentative agreement has been made between the Port Authority, government officials, and developer Larry A. Silverstein to move forward on the construction of two additional skyscrapers at ground zero. The first office building, 1 World Trade Center, which includes a Sept. 11 memorial, is already being built. The second tower, with 64 stories, would rival the Empire State Building in office space and should be completed by 2013. The project will be funded by up to $1.6 billion in public financing and subsidies and ends a 16-month stalemate. The third tower would go up only if Silverstein were able to raise an additional $300 million and secure around 400,000 square feet worth of leases, and a fourth tower is already stalled indefinitely. If unable to obtain the funds and contracts, a five-story structure for shops and other elements would take the tower's place. "Today's agreement between my company and the Port Authority will accelerate the rebuilding of the World Trade Center," Silverstein said in a statement. "This is great news for New York."