Trump Sounds Off on World Trade Center

May 19, 2005 | By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer


AP - Wed May 18, 2005 Real estate developer Donald Trump geatures as he addresses reporters next to a model of the proposed World Trade Center known as the 'TWIN TOWERS II', Tuesday, May 18, 2005 in New York. Trump is supporting this design by architects Kenneth Gardner, left, and Herbert Belton, not in photo. The original twin towers were destroyed Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

To Donald Trump, the proposals for the replacement for the World Trade Center look like a junkyard. His solution? Rebuild the twin towers, more or less.

Standing in the lobby of his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the developer turned TV star on Wednesday presented a model of his own envisioned towers, reflecting the original shape of the skyscrapers that fell Sept. 11, 2001.

The towers he advocates would be 111 stories tall -- one floor taller than the lost towers.

Plans for the site, to be dominated by a 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, have been stalled lately because of security concerns, though Gov. George Pataki assured New Yorkers last week that the project was not losing momentum.

"Failure to rebuild is not an option," the Republican governor said in a speech in downtown Manhattan.

But Trump had little use for the futuristic, angular Freedom Tower model.

The plan "looks like a junkyard, a series of broken-down angles that don't match each other. And we have to live with this for hundreds of years?" he said. "It is the worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen in my life."

However, Trump said he was leaving it up to developer Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease on the World Trade Center site, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land, to execute the design first introduced last year by engineer Ken Gardner.

"I only have the power of persuasion," Trump said. "It's a very simple power, but sometimes it can be very strong."

Speaking for Silverstein, Howard J. Rubenstein said Trump was a friend, but "Silverstein's only concern right now is designing a safe and spectacular Freedom Tower in keeping with the well-established master plan for the site."

Trump read from a letter sent to him by architect Daniel Libeskind, whose plan won an international design competition for the trade center project. Silverstein then brought in his own architect, David Childs, to redesign the signature Freedom Tower.

In the letter, Libeskind was "essentially complaining that the design is no good," Trump said.

He quoted Libeskind as saying the shape of the tower was "the product of David Childs," while he wanted a more slender, classical tower set back farther from the street.

Libeskind added in a statement Wednesday: "The site plan is not just about commercial buildings. The memorial is its crucial centerpiece. It is there for a reason."

Though it would be taller than the twin towers, the Freedom Tower would have much of its top one-third given over to airy latticework and a spire emitting light into the night. Only around 70 floors would be usable office space.

Trump described the existing design as "essentially a skeleton" at the top. "If we rebuild the World Trade Center in the form of a skeleton, the terrorists win."

Trump also left room for an alternative to his plan, if tenants can't be found for the new towers. "If for some reason, it can't be built, because there is a possibility that people do not want to be in any of the buildings on the site, then what we should do is ... build a great memorial park," he said.