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New plans for N.Y. site unveiled today

©Associated Press
December 18, 2002

NEW YORK -- A floating memorial with 2,800 lights and the tallest towers in the world are among the ideas that will be unveiled today for the World Trade Center site, with planners hoping the new round of designs will capture the public's imagination.

Seven teams of architects will present their designs, beginning an intensive six weeks of review before a final plan is chosen to develop the 16-acre site and the surrounding neighborhood.

An initial six plans for the site were widely derided as boring and crammed with offices when they were released in July. For this round, redevelopment officials eased the office space requirements and other specifications, and opened the design process to firms worldwide.

Architect Richard Meier, who designed the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and is a member of one of the new teams, said buildings cover only one-fourth of the trade center site in his plan. The plan includes a floating "memorial plaza" on the Hudson River and a park with 2,800 small lights representing the victims of last year's terrorist attack.

A redevelopment official who spoke on condition of anonymity said several of the plans include what would be the tallest towers in the world. Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers, at 1,483 feet, are now the world's tallest.

All of the plans include a memorial to the victims. One plan places it on top of a building, while another incorporates a sunken garden in tribute to the dead. A memorial design will be chosen in a separate international contest next year.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency created to lead the redevelopment effort, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land, said after months of infighting that they will work together to choose a design for the trade center site by Jan. 31.

The design teams were selected from 407 submissions.

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