August 14, 2002

Planning Stage for Trade Center Site Is Extended

NEW YORK (AP) -- A month after preliminary schemes for the World Trade Center site drew near-universal criticism, officials announced Wednesday they will extend the planning stage by up to three months and invite architects from around the world to submit designs.

"We are looking for excitement, creativity, energy," said Roland Betts, a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the city-state agency charged with redeveloping the trade center site.

The new process means a redevelopment plan for the trade center will not be completed until late winter of 2003.

The development corporation said it would choose up to five design teams to prepare plans for the trade center site. The teams will be selected by Sept. 30, and three alternative proposals -- possibly including elements of several of the plans submitted -- will be chosen by the end of the year.

A final plan will be chosen two or three months after that, the officials said. The development corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had originally said they would pick three plans by the end of September and narrow them down to one by the end of the year.

Some popular components of the original plans -- such as construction of a promenade from the trade center site to Battery Park, and keeping the "footprints" of the twin towers free from development -- will be incorporated into the new designs, Betts said.