NEW YORK CITY-Construction workers have begun setting the foundation for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site. In late April, World Trade Center developer/leaseholder Larry A. Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, reached an agreement that paved the way for the process to get under way. As part of that agreement, Silverstein is developing the Freedom Tower and the PA will take ownership when it is completed in 2011.

In a ruling announced yesterday, Silverstein was denied a request for insurance companies to pay his legal fees in relation to litigation regarding the WTC site. A Silverstein spokesperson says that while they are disappointed in the decision and think it’s wrong, it will have no impact on the WTC rebuilding effort.

The 1,776-ft tower will include approximately 2.6-million sf of office space, plus observation decks, restaurants and broadcast and antennae facilities. Below-grade shopping will be available as well as access to the New Jersey PATH and NYC subway. Workers are in the process of creating foundation footings for the Freedom Tower. Overseen by Tishman Construction, the contractor, Laquila Group Inc., is preparing to excavate rock prior to constructing the tower foundations, which will consist of concrete spread footings on rock, rock anchors and mini-caissons.

“The start of construction serves as a symbol of hope and a show of true progress,” says Silverstein. Tishman Construction, then under the direction of John Tishman, built the original Twin Towers, as well as the original 7 World Trade Center. Under the leadership of his son, Dan Tishman, the company built the new 7 World Trade Center.

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