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Controversy Clouds Trade Center Design

The new World Trade Center Transportation Hub is slated to include this sculpture and turfgrass area. Photo courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The mall planned for the World Trade Center site will include a Barneys, DKNY, Gap, Express, Charles David, H2O, and Starbucks, according to renderings released on Oct. 20 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

But there’s a catch – none of the retailers included in the images has committed to renting space at the site, where shopping is scheduled to begin in 2010.

The episode is the latest in a series of missteps that have marked the effort to rebuild at the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Two of the cultural institutions slated for the site, the Drawing Center and the International Freedom Center, have been nixed. The one tower that has been rebuilt, 7 World Trade Center, lacks a major tenant. And plans for the Freedom Tower, the largest building at the site, have been reworked amid security concerns.

Asked why the retailers were pictured in the plans without having agreed to open stores at the site, a spokesman for the Port Authority, Steven Coleman, said the images were examples of “artistic license.”

In late September, the International Freedom Center (IFC) at Ground Zero lost a months-running battle to include a facility at the site.

The museum, designed by the Norwegian firm Sn?hetta, would have been located in the northeast corner of the World Trade Center. Its purpose was to "tell freedom's story," according to its mission statement. But in the last several months the IFC had been under a barrage of attacks from families and survivors of the WTC attacks, firefighters, policemen, politicians, and others who feared its exhibits would be negative toward or critical of U.S. policies.

Sources: New York Sun and Architectural Record.

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June 18, 2019, 9:06 pm PDT

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