New York group proposes rebuilding WTC twin towers
By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa
NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - An advocacy group on Wednesday unveiled a design to rebuild the World Trade Center's twin towers in the image of the original skyscrapers, in an effort to overhaul official plans for the site.
"One might ask, isn't everything regarding the future of the World Trade Center site already cast in stone? The answer: No, not at all," Jonathan Hakala, spokesman for the advocacy group "Team Twin Towers," said at a news briefing.
"Team Twin Towers" said it is speaking on behalf of New Yorkers and Americans who want to see the towers rise again over lower Manhattan. The rebuilding of the site as it stood before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks would be the best way to restore the New York skyline, the group said.
Last year, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, announced plans to build at the former World Trade Center site a skyscraper dubbed the "Freedom Tower" and a memorial to the 2,749 victims of the attacks by Islamic militants.
More than 5,000 proposals were submitted to the design competition. "Team Twin Towers" was not able to complete its design before the competition closed.
"Team Twin Towers" is one of several groups pressuring government and development officials to alter the reconstruction plans.
Joanna Rose, spokeswoman for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is coordinating reconstruction at the site, said the organization intended to go forward with its current plans.
Although another proposal has been selected, Ken Gardner, the designer working for "Team Twin Towers," was not discouraged about the prospects for his design.
"There will be a rallying cry" for the proposal, Gardner said.
Randy Warner, co-founder of "Team Twin Towers" said: "As long as we haven't started digging a hole in the ground, there's room for discussion."
Under the group's proposal, two towers would be erected 300 feet (91 meters) east of the original buildings' "footprints." The towers would resemble the original 110-story design on the outside, but the the interior structure would be revamped to make the skyscrapers sturdier and the windows larger.
A 500-foot-high (152-meter-high) mast on top of the North Tower would bring its total height to 1,888 feet (575 meters) making it the tallest building in the world, surpassing the 1,667-foot-high (508-meter-high) "Taipei 101" office block in Taiwan.
Official plans call for the "Freedom Tower" to reach 1,776 feet (541 meters).