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10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11

New York

New York City has witnessed a wealth of transformation since the 9/11 attacks. Revitalized and with renewed hope, Lower Manhattan has emerged from the ashes.

On the 16th anniversary, Bisnow has rounded up the top 10 ways the area has been shaped since Sept. 11, 2001.

One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center

1. What Was Once Known As The Freedom Tower Is Now One World Trade Center

On Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the north and south World Trade Center towers destroying the buildings and killing more than 2,700 people. In addition to the destruction of the towers, falling debris and fires in the surrounding area caused massive damage to the other structures in and around the complex.

Since then, efforts have been made over more than a decade to rebuild all that was lost.

Created to be the tallest and most symbolic of the skyscrapers, the Freedom Tower was designed to be 1,776 feet tall. To date, it is still the highest building the U.S., although its name has been changed.

In 2009, the agency that owned the site renamed it One World Trade Center, a name that has remained to this day. The 3.5M SF building counts Condé Nast, Mic and the federal government among its current tenants.

3 and 4 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan
3 and 4 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan

2. The WTC Complex Is Being Rebuilt

Four other buildings have been or are being created alongside One World Trade Center.

Designed by Maki and Associates, 4 World Trade Center opened in 2013 and stands 977 feet tall with five floors of retail and a 46-foot-high office lobby. It is now fully leased with tenants including Spotify, MediaMath and the City of New York.

The 80-story 3 World Trade Center is nearing completion. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2018 and will be the fifth-tallest skyscraper in New York City once complete. GroupM is the anchor tenant, committed to 700K SF.

The second tallest of the towers, 2 World Trade Center, will stand 1,270 feet. It will feature a 40-foot-high office lobby and life-safety systems that go beyond the NYC building code. Deutsche Bank is reportedly considering 1.3M SF in the building for its new headquarters. If the lease is signed, it would jump-start construction on the final piece of the 16-acre master planned complex. 

The first to be built and opened in May 2006, 7 World Trade Center, adjacent to the WTC site, is New York City’s first LEED Gold Certified office building and is fully leased, home to tenants that include Moody’s, the New York Academy of Sciences and Bisnow.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11
The World Trade Center PATH station, memorial fountains and 9/11 museum

3. A Memorial Now Stands In Place Of The Former Twin Towers

Meant to act as a physical memorial exploring the implications and ongoing impact of 9/11, the 110K SF exhibition space is in the center of the World Trade Center site and occupies about half of its 16-acre span.

Multimedia displays, archives, narratives and artifacts all help tell the stories of the men, women and children who died in 2001, as well as in the 1993 bombings. Two waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre, can be found in the footprints of the original twin towers. The waterfalls are considered to be the largest man-made waterfalls in the U.S.

The plaza is one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed, with hundreds of white oak trees surrounding the pools. Its design is meant to convey hope and renewal.

A rendering of Essex on the Park's

4. World Financial Center/Winter Garden Atrium Rebuilt As Brookfield Place

One year after the attacks, the Winter Garden reopened following a $50M reconstruction project, Boston.com reports.

Like many others around it, the structure, which was across the street from the World Trade Center, had suffered significant damage from debris caused by the collapse of the twin towers.

The building is now home to a luxury shopping mall and food court named Brookfield Eats after the complex's developer and owner, Canadian real estate giant Brookfield Properties. Time Inc. is the complex's anchor office tenant, occupying 700K SF of offices.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11
130 Liberty St.

5. Only The Foundation Of 130 Liberty St. Remains. Still.

130 Liberty St. first opened its doors in 1974 as Bankers Trust Plaza. Situated across the street from the World Trade Center site, it was a 41-story Deutsche Bank building at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

The building suffered severe damage with the collapse of 2 World Trade Center tearing a 24-story gash into the facade, but it took nearly a decade before it was cleared away.

Issues with asbestos, fires, the discovery of partial human remains from 9/11 and the death of two firefighters were among the problems that held up deconstruction. The building has since been torn down completely, but its foundation walls and steel columns remain intact, hidden below street level.

Soon, a church will be constructed in place of the former building. The Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center is being constructed by Skansa and is anticipated to be complete by 2018, the New York Post reports.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11
8 Spruce St.

6. Residential Now Reigns

Less than two months before the 9/11 attacks, Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties had won a $3.9B contract for a 99-year lease on the twin towers.

At the time, the area was primarily home to office users with little residential in sight, but the tables have since turned.

The area suffered an estimated $10B in property and infrastructure damage, but it has made its comeback as a popular residential area, now home to more than 60,000 people with almost 4,600 of those being families with children as of 2014. This is nearly triple the number of people who lived there before the attacks, according to DNAinfo.

Frank Gehry’s 76-floor luxury residential tower at 8 Spruce St., built by Forest City Ratner, and the soon to be delivered 1 Seaport at 161 Maiden Lane are among the notable new residential buildings.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11
WTC Oculus Mall

7. Retail And Entertainment Are Hotter Than Ever

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the WTC Oculus Mall opened in 2016 with tenants including Forever 21, H&M and Sephora.

The 365K SF mall, which also acts as a transit hub, was built on land owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is eventually expected to boast more than 100 stores and restaurants. Westfield Corp. holds a 99-year lease on the project.

Designs for the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center were unveiled a year ago with an expected delivery date of 2020, just in time to host the Tribeca Film Festival. With an anticipated price tag of $243M, the center is being created with a facade that will change throughout the day.

Once complete, the building will have three levels and a rehearsal room and is said to be the most flexible, technologically advanced performance space in the world. Famed restaurant Nobu has recently relocated to the area, moving from Tribeca to 195 Broadway.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11

8. PATH/Fulton Street Station

The connection between Fulton Center’s Dey Street Concourse and the World Trade Center PATH station opened in May 2016.

The passageway provides access to the PATH station and Battery Park City as well as One and 4 World Trade Center. Once the reconstruction of the Cortlandt Street station is complete in 2018, it will also be accessible.

The connection is vital to commuters traveling between the New York City Transit subway system and the PATH rail system to New Jersey and allows people to avoid heavily trafficked streets and more easily move underground.

Lower Manhattan, with Brookfield Place in the foreground

9. Tenant Diversity

True to its name, the financial district was once home to nearly all financial companies.

Now, Lower Manhattan is home to a variety of industries and businesses, including Condé Nast, Spotify, MediaMath and HarperCollins.

The area has become more appealing to a number of companies, especially those with a younger workforce, because of improved transportation and ease of access to New Jersey and Brooklyn.

In the first half of 2017, technology, advertising, media and information companies accounted for 26.7% of the new leasing activity in Lower Manhattan. Spotify expanded its headquarters an additional 103K SF while Business Insider took 88K SF. Macmillan Publishers recently announced plans to relocate to Lower Manhattan from Midtown South.

10 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Transformed Since 9/11
The star-studded 443 Greenwich St. condominiums in Tribeca

10. Tribeca Is Star-Studded

443 Greenwich St. in Tribeca is becoming somewhat of a celebrity hot spot. A number of A-listers have purchased units in the condominium, including Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Hudson and Justin Timberlake, The Real Deal reports.

About half a mile away is a jenga-like structure at 56 Leonard St. that boasts 17K SF of amenities, including a fitness center, a swimming pool, a library, a theater and event space. The luxury condo project has been called one of the most successful in New York.

The neighborhood, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, has officially returned to its glitzy roots after a gritty period in the late 20th century.