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Debris to Towers: 20 Years After 9/11, World Trade Centre Rebuilding Still in Progress

A woman walks by the colorful murals that surround the foundation for 2 World Trade Center, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in New York.  (AP)

A woman walks by the colorful murals that surround the foundation for 2 World Trade Center, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in New York. (AP)

Every year, the site holds an annual ceremony honoring nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.

As the ruins of the World Trade Center smoldered following the deadly September 11 terror attacks of 2001, everyone doubted it could ever rise again. However, 20 years, the work to rebuild the World Trade Centre complex remains incomplete and the remains of the deceased are still being identified.

As per the original reconstruction plan, two planned skyscrapers, a performing arts center, and a church are still unfinished at the site. Every year, the site holds an annual ceremony honoring nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks. The Twin Towers and surrounding buildings were destroyed by al Qaeda hijackers, devastating the lower Manhattan’s economy.

Meanwhile, a plan was born, and a lengthy metamorphosis turned the disaster site into a giant pit, then a walled-off construction site, and finally after spending some $25 billion, authorities came up with a tourist attraction and business center with three skyscrapers, a transportation hub, a museum, and a memorial.

The memorial plaza with its twin reflecting pools opened in 2011. One World Trade Center — the spire is originally known as the Freedom Tower — opened in 2014, as did the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. An underground transit hub and shopping mall opened in 2016. Three other glassy towers built to replace those lost in the attack are open.

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However, cranes and construction fences are still seen around the site.

What is still under construction?

2 WORLD TRADE CENTER

Planned as the second tallest skyscraper at the site, 2 World Trade Center, might someday reach 80 stories. But for now, just a low stump of a building exists as a placeholder, covered with colorful graffiti-style murals at the northeast corner of the Trade Center site. Developer Larry Silverstein has said he wants to sign an anchor tenant for the tower before starting construction.

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

After years of delays, the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center is under construction just to the west of 2 World Trade Center’s future site and is scheduled to open in 2023.

Disputes over its budget and design threatened its viability in the years after Frank Gehry and the Norwegian firm Snøhetta were tapped to design it in 2004. In 2015, the center’s leaders announced a new team of architects, Joshua Ramus of Rex Architecture P.C. plus the firm Davis Brody Bond, who have designed a translucent glass and marble cube. Once finished, the arts center’s top floor will house a flexible set of spaces that can be configured into one, two or three theaters for drama, dance, film and music.

GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

The long-delayed construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, replacing the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks, is now proceeding briskly after years of delays.

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first published:September 11, 2021, 08:01 IST