Skip to main content /US /US

What will replace the World Trade Center?

Mounds of rubble are what remain of the World Trade Center.  

(CNN) -- Once the hands, shovels and dump trucks have removed the rubble from the World Trade Center, a complicated question arises: What will take its place?

Besides the landmark twin towers, the center's Marriott Hotel and two other structures have been destroyed. Two remaining buildings in the complex are partly collapsed.

The developer who inked a $3.2 billion, 99-year lease on the property in July has stated publicly his intention to resurrect the twin towers on the site.

"Larry Silverstein is hopeful that sometime in the future it will be rebuilt in some form," said his representative Steve Solomon.

"But it will take more than one man and one organization to do that, that's for sure," Solomon said.

'Everyone is discussing memorials'

What would you like to see on the site of the World Trade Center?

A new WTC, with new twin towers
A scaled-down office complex
A memorial structure
A quiet green space
View Results
Attack on America
 CNN NewsPass Video 
Agencies reportedly got hijack tips in 1998
Intelligence intercept led to Buffalo suspects
Report cites warnings before 9/11
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

Silverstein told real estate leaders this week that the twin towers should be revived in defiance of the terrorists who brought them down September 11.

But others are not so sure. Some building experts have suggested a more modest building proposal or an architectural tribute to the victims.

"Everyone is discussing memorials and rebuilding the towers," said Bruce Fowle, a New York architect helping organize a committee of his peers to plan the recovery of lower Manhattan.

"But the towers were built when large iconic towers were in fashion. For the most part, that has been demonstrated not to work," he said.

Reconstruction might include a green space, a place of meditation or a physical monument of some sort. In any case, Fowle said he hopes it will blend in more harmoniously with the surrounding community.

The big towers loomed over Battery Park City, and residents had no choice but to walk through the wind-swept area to reach Wall Street.

"I would like to see the whole district rebuilt in a way that serves as a memorial to mankind and a more sophisticated level of thinking about urbanism," Fowle said.

Regardless of what goes up, the process of planning and construction could take anywhere from two to 10 years, according to architects.

Much of Manhattan's lower tip closed down

In the meantime, New Yorkers have more urgent matters at hand. Removing the hundreds of thousands of tons of debris, finding working space for the estimated 4,300 displaced businesses and returning power, phone and gas service to the areas surrounding ground zero.

Much of the lower tip of Manhattan remains closed. Most telephone service is out south of Canal and Grand streets. Water and power are shut off blocks around the World Trade Center.

Ray O'Keefe, a real estate executive with Grubb & Ellis in New York, said companies are scrambling to open offices in other parts of the city or surrounding areas.

Workers set up stations in private homes, in makeshift offices outside Manhattan and at other locations of their companies.

"Upward of six months might be required before everyone that was affected is back to operations as they were before," O'Keefe said.

"Our own people are working in Midtown," said O'Keefe, referring to Grubb & Ellis employees who worked at the Whitehall Street location in lower Manhattan.

Besides the World Trade Center, about a dozen neighboring buildings likely experienced structural damage as well, including the hard-hit One Liberty Plaza across the street, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the Federal Building and the World Financial Center complex.

There are some signs of hope. A full measure of the damage has yet to be completed, but some of the preliminary appraisals might have been too pessimistic.

"It was reported that One Liberty was collapsing. But the latest assessment indicated that it is a building that could be restored," O'Keefe said.

See related sites about US
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.



Back to the top