NEW YORK CITY-The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey met on Thursday and approved the $2.9-billion construction of the 2.6-million-sf Freedom Tower. As part of the approvals, the PA approved roughly $500 million in construction contracts.

The approvals now pave the way for construction to continue unimpeded. Ground was broken on the site last April, but the project has run-up against a number of roadblocks including a redesign, budget increases and security concerns.

The 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, which will be built on the former site of the World Trade Center, is expected to have various government entities occupying more than half the facility. The PA is also expected to put the building up for sale. The outer shell will be completed in 2012, with the entire done in 2015, according to PA documents for Thursday’s board meeting.

Earlier in the week, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer backed the project, despite comments before coming to office to the contrary. At one time he had pegged the project as a ‘white elephant’ and vowed to meet with the PA when entering office to discuss the feasibility of the project. But on Tuesday, as reported by, Spitzer joined New Jersey Gov. John Corzine and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference to voice their approval.

In January, Tishman Construction Corp. was named general contractor and construction manager for the Freedom Tower.

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