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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

Revisions for the World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero were announced today that would substantially lower its costs and retain most of the key elements of the original ?Reflecting Absence? design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker that were selected in 2004 after a worldwide competition such as waterfalls cascading into two large pools meant to reflect the absence of the twin towers that were demolished in terrorist attacks September 11, 2001.

Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had announced May 17 that escalating costs for the important and controversial memorial required a redesign and named Frank J. Sciame to coordinate a new plan. Mr. Sciame last week met with the governor and mayor and Mayor Bloomberg said today at a news conference that he and the governor are ?very pleased with what?s come out of this.?

Originally the names of the 2,979 victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and of February 26, 1993 were to have been incised into parapets in eight galleries but the new design eliminates six of those galleries as well as ramps leading to them from the plaza.

A museum entrance pavilion that had been planned for West Street has also been eliminated in the new plan and the memorial and the museum would now be combined in a complex reached through a single visitors? orientation center on Greenwich Street.

The revised scheme, which is intended to be completed by September 11, 2009, has shaved about $162 million from the budget for the memorial and the museum and another $123 million from infrastructure costs. As a result, the total development costs are now about $700 million as compared to almost $1 billion early last month.

Mr. Sciame, a developer who has commissioned Salvador Calatrava to design a ?townhouses-in-the-sky? residential tower near the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, assembled many leading real estate figures and architects to assist him in revising the plan including Jack Rudin, the chairman of the Rudin Management Company, Marvin Mass, chairman of Cosentini Associates, Richard Tomasetti, chairman of Thornton-Tomasetti Group, and architects Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects, Rick Cook of Cook + Fox Architects, Peter Claman of SLCE Architects and Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Sciame?s report, which is available online at http://www.renewnyc.com, noted that ?some options we analyzed were not considered consistent with the Reflecting Absence vision selected by the Memorial Jury, such as bringing the reflecting pools up to the plaza level.? ?We also considered eliminating the waterfalls? reducing landscaping, and relocating the Memorial Museum to the Freedom Tower, but these were rejected.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.