NEW YORK CITY-One year after revealing conceptual plans for three new towers at the World Trade Center site, and nearly six years after the terrorist attacks that destroyed the Lower Manhattan hub, the designs for three towers at the site are finalized. The buildings, known as Towers 2, 3 and 4, will rise among the Freedom Tower and 7 World Trade Center.

“In the past year a tremendous team assembled working at break-neck speed,” said Janno Lieber, director of World Trade Center development for Silverstein Properties, at a press conference held yesterday at 7 World Trade Center. “They made every deadline on the design schedule and we are now turning to the construction phase of the project.”

Developer Larry Silverstein said construction on 175 Greenwich St. and 150 Greenwich St., known as Towers 3 and 4 respectively, will begin in January. Work on 200 Greenwich St., known as Tower 2, will follow in July. “If you look out the window to the south, you will see the Port Authority is busy excavating the land where the buildings will stand,” he said. “Shovels will be in the ground in less than four months.”

He added the development team is now reviewing bids for the foundation work and is aiming to have 70 packages out to bid by the end of October. By January, Silverstein expects the development team will have awarded “several billions of dollars worth of work.”

The construction timeline also calls for the work on the buildings–with a mix of office and retail space–to reach street level in one year, with Towers 3 and 4 topping out in mid-2010 and Tower 2 topping out in 2011. All three towers will be completed by late 2011, early 2012.

“Six years ago many believed Lower Manhattan was finished as a world financial district,” said New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, adding some wondered who would want to live or work near the site of the worst terrorist attack in our country’s history. After Lower Manhattan fell behind Washington, DC as the largest business district in the US, Silver explained the goal became clear: to restore the area to “its rightful place as the business and financial capital of the world.”

Foster and Partners is the design firm behind 200 Greenwich, a 79-story tower set to rise 1,270 feet on a site bounded by Greenwich, Church, Vesey and Fulton streets. It will contain 138,000 sf of retail, 60 office floors totaling 2.3 million sf, four trading floors and a 65-foot high office lobby.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners designed 175 Greenwich, a 71-story tower set to rise 1,147 feet above street level on a site bounded by Greenwich, Church, Dey and Cortlandt streets. The building will contain 193,000 sf of retail, 54 office floors with 2.1 million sf and five trading floors.

Maki Associates is the design firm designed 150 Greenwich, a 64-story tower set to rise 975 feet on a site bounded by Greenwich, Church, Cortlandt and Liberty streets. It will contain 56 office floors with 1.8 million sf, and five floors of retail. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey inked a deal to take a third of the office space for its new headquarters.

Every tower will be certified to Gold Standard, just like 7 World Trade Center, Silver added. Acknowledging some setbacks, including the recent fire at the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty St., “we are moving forward more swiftly and efficiently than before,” Silver said.

And explaining that development of the World Trade Center site was “firing on all cylinders”, with more than 600 construction workers on the site daily and more than $1.8 billion in construction contracts already awarded, Anthony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, added every piece of the project is moving all the time. “This is a project of unprecedented scope with $16 billion invested in 16 acres.”

“Taken all together, there is no doubt [this project] will be an iconic addition to the skyline of Manhattan,” added Avi Schick, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

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