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P.A. Would Take Over 'Freedom' Under New WTC Pact

Part of us wants to withhold our belief until we see Larry "Blame Government Ineptitude" Silverstein grinning at a photo op, but it looks like there's a deal at ground zero, after Mayor Bloomberg plus Govs. Pataki and Corzine got together and gave the developer and WTC leaseholder an offer he's not likely to refuse. According to the Times write-up, the Port Authority would take over construction of the Freedom Tower and one other building, while Silverstein would get to build the three other office towers along Church Street, between Vesey and Liberty, plus the shopping mall of patriots, with the City and the Port Authority eventually inking market-rate leases on 1.2 million square feet in those towers. Latest pipe dream of a completion date: 2012, which for those too flabbergasted to do the math would be 11 years after 9/11.
· Unified Financial Plan Is Presented for Ground Zero [NYT]

BONUS: The Post drops a new nickname for Norman Foster's Hearst Tower ("Crystal Cathedral") and finds out that his contribution to the downtown rebuilding (200 Greenwich Street, one of the Silverstein buildings under the new plan) will be 65 stories (no word on whether those are really 65 stories or just numbers in the elevator) and feature up to five trading floors "sandwiched between the retail and regular office space above." Yum! [NYP/Lois Weiss]

UPDATE: An e-mailer predicts yet another redesign for Freedom and slaps the Post's nicknaming: "(1) If Silverstein walks away from the Freedom Tower, expect?after a "respectable" intermission?a press conference/watercolor demo in which Port Authority hacks announce that they are extending their contract with Santiago Calatrava, the favored architectural savior of the eye-candy set. (David Childs fades to gray.) (2) "Crystal Cathedral" is already taken?and it is a travesty to use it in this context. [Think televangelism, Garden Grove ...] The great glass room that Eli Attia designed nearly 30 years ago for Philip Johnson/John Burgee is a feat of architectural engineering that makes Foster's Eighth Avenue confection look like Tinker Toys in comparison."