Photo: Ryan Budhu – One World Trade at night
Hidden beneath the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque near ground zero lies the foundation of One World Trade Center. Formerly referred to as Freedom Tower, One World Trade Center stands to be the tallest building in the United States, extending 104 floors and 1776 feet high (commemorating the year of our independence from Great Britain). You’ve probably heard very little regarding the project. That’s because there hasn’t been much to talk about. That has changed over the last few months, though, as construction of the skyscraper has picked up. By year’s end, it’s expected that 50 stories will be completed, with a final move-in date set for 2013.
One World Trade Center isn’t the only new skyscraper coming to the New York skyline, however. Fifteen Penn Plaza is a 1210 foot building intended to take the place of Hotel Pennsylvania, which sits at Seventh Avenue across from Madison Square Garden. The project hasn’t received approval just yet due to complaints that the building would overshadow one of New York’s most famous landmarks, the Empire State Building. The owners of the Empire State Building fear that their property will be swallowed up by the sheer size and proximity of the new building. Consequently, they have asked that a seventeen block buffer be enforced around their building, preventing any future conflict.
The City Planning Commission originally approved the Penn project while Community Board 5, whose district includes the area in question, did not. Both sides, Vornado Reality Trust (the developer of Penn Plaza), and the owners of the Empire State Building, made their case this past Monday in front of a zoning and franchise subcommittee. Vornado contends that their building will upgrade Penn Station, the busiest rail hub in North America. They further add that thousands of jobs will be created with new office space made available. The other side, headed by owner Anthony Malkin contends that the Penn Plaza project would obstruct views of the Empire State Building and forever alter the New York skyline. He even took out a full page ad in the New York Times denouncing the Penn project and arguing that 71% of people polled thought it would degrade the character of the skyline. A final city council vote is expected on Wednesday.
What do you think? Do you like the rendering above?