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NEW YORK CITY-Seven of the eight Q1 construction milestones at the World Trade Center redevelopment site were completed on schedule, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says in its quarterly progress report released Monday. The quarter was also highlighted by the signing of the first private tenant at One World Trade Center, aka the Freedom Tower.

Milestones for Q1 included a $339-million contract award for 22,000 tons of steel for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the installation of more than half of the 4,550 pieces of steel for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the start of construction on the Vehicle Security Center. Among other milestones, construction was begun on the Fulton Street deck for One World Trade as the future office tower reached 105 feet above street level. The eighth of the Q1 milestones, completion of pavilion/spot network footings that will support the memorial’s pavilion, was completed on April 24.

By the end of the current quarter, the Port Authority expects to accomplish another 20 milestones, according to the report. Among these are: beginning the Route 9A underpass excavation for the future WTC Transportation Hub’s east-west connector; completing interior design for the memorial’s pavilion; building the shearwall for the north core of One World Trade up to level B1, the last level before grade; and completing a series of slurry panels for the WTC Vehicular Security Center.

With the signing in March of Beijing Vantone to 190,810 square feet at One World Trade, the tower has reached 50% occupancy including prospective state and federal government tenants, according to the report. Vantone’s lease for 20 years and nine months will take effect upon One World Trade’s completion, scheduled for late 2013.

In a letter to Gov. David Paterson that prefaced the report, executive director Christopher Ward wrote that the authority will continue to be confronted with “the challenges of rebuilding on such a crowded and complex site.” However, he added, “Our greatest challenge going forward will be responding to the effects of an economic recession, which has depressed the city’s real estate market and tightened the nation’s credit market. Just as we have gotten the public construction on track, we have seen that, like everything else, the rebuilding effort is not immune to the economic crisis.” The progress reports have been prepared on a quarterly basis since an assessment of the mega-project’s construction schedule was issued last October.

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