Impressive Security Planned at NY's Freedom Tower

Built-in chemical and bio detection systems, bomb-resistance, exceeding fire requirements


NEW YORK -- The newest plan for the Freedom Tower at the former World Trade Center site features a more bomb-resistant design pushed well away from the street and incorporating heavily protected elevators and utilities.

The details are part of a redesign detailed Wednesday for the soaring skyscraper in lower Manhattan, a project that has been delayed by bureaucratic squabbling.

The new design for the 1,776-foot tower is meant to make it more resistant to truck bombs. The building will now be 90 feet - instead of 25 feet - from West Street, the major north-south thoroughfare along the Hudson River.

The tower's cubic base will be clad in luminous materials - probably a combination of stainless steel and titanium - that will be shimmering and light-reflective as well as blast-resistant, according to a description of the redesign posted online by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

As in the original design, the structure outlined in the latest plan exceeds city fire code requirements, and will have biological and chemical filters in its air supply system.

It also has the original design's extra-wide emergency stairs, a dedicated staircase just for firefighters, enhanced elevators and "areas of refuge" on each floor. Stairs, communications, sprinklers and elevators will be encased in 3-foot-thick walls.

The tower will be capped with a mast incorporating an antenna, meant to suggest the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

The plan for rebuilding the 16-acre site devastated by the Sept. 11, 2001, attack retains 2.6 million square feet of office space and an observation deck. Sixty-nine office floors will sit atop a 200-foot-high reinforced base.

Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials were to discuss the redesign at a news conference.

"Together we faced the challenge of redesigning the Freedom Tower and today we see the result is a better, safer, and prouder symbol of freedom for our skyline," Pataki said in a statement. "This new design reflects a soaring tribute to freedom and a bedrock commitment to safety and security."

Pataki laid the tower's cornerstone on July 4, 2004, but the past year has seen more fighting than progress by the agencies and individuals with roles in the site's rebuilding.

Officials have said the concerns have probably delayed the tower's original 2009 ribbon-cutting, and the revised plan now calls for it to be ready for occupancy in 2010.