9/11: Officials debate WTC options, Pentagon renovations complete

Plans to rebuild and memorialize the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan are under revision as the finishing touches to the Pentagon’s rebuilt E-ring near completion in time for the one-year anniversary of September 11.

Officials in New York selected six plans out of thousands submitted for ground zero last July. CNN is currently accepting proposal submissions for the 16-acre site, to be displayed on its Web site, CNN.com, after what they call a “less than enthusiastic” response to the ones unveiled this summer.

New York Gov. George Pataki formed the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. after September 11 to commission proposals for the site.

According to CNN, the plans differ little. None would plan towers as large as the World Trade Center buildings. The highest proposal offered among the six is an 85-story building.

The original 110-story building, built in 1973, included more than 4.8 million square feet of rentable space. The new proposals offer no more than 600,000 square retail footage.

Subway and commuter lines in the ground zero area should be ready for full function later this fall, according to the New York Port Authority.

New York officials also hope to select a winning design for the former
World Trade Center site by the end of this year. The options will be narrowed to three plans by the end of September.

The first workers returned to the Pentagon’s outer E-ring one month ago, according to a Washington Post report. About two dozen Marine workers moved into their old office space Aug. 14, and Pentagon officials said last week the space would be nearly full for President George W. Bush’s September 11 memorial service at the site in Arlington, Va.

At least 600 people worked in the area destroyed on September 11 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building with 64 people on board, killing more than 120 Pentagon workers.

Pentagon officials said the reconstruction was completed ahead of schedule and more than $200 million below initial expected costs, the Post reported. Final project completion is now set for 2010.

Officials are also accepting design ideas from around the world at www.memorialcompetition.pentagon.mil for a memorial at the Pentagon. According to the site, a winner will be selected by the end of the year.

In June, a time capsule was placed behind the final piece of limestone on the repaired Pentagon wall, a blackened stone from the attack inscribed with the words “September 11, 2001.” Stone for the refurbished Pentagon facade came from the same Indiana quarry that provided the original limestone for the building.

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