The focus in New York City has shifted from new construction to the major recovery and rebuilding effort.

"There will be less of a priority on new projects and more of a priority on rebuilding,” said Tony Mann, president of E-J Electric Installation Co., Long Island City, N.Y.

Although no firm construction plans have been drawn up for the World Trade Center Complex, several ideas have been proposed in the last few weeks, including constructing hollow 110-story towers as a memorial for those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

Larry Silverstein, the president of Silverstein Properties who recently signed a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center complex, would like to rebuild the towers for both economic and emotional reasons, according to Mann said he would like to rebuild as a symbol of our country's resolve against terrorism.

"The people who have inflicted this upon us are clearly out to destroy our way of life," Silverstein said. "It eould be a tragedy to allow them their victory."

Silverstein Properties and the U.S. unit of the Australian shopping center group, Westfield, took over the leases for the World Trade Center from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just seven weeks before the tragedy according to The leases, which were estimated to be worth $3.2 billion, included 10.6 million sq ft of office space in the twin towers and two nine-level buildings and 427,000 sq ft of retail space in the shopping mall.

Rather than rebuilding the World Trade Center with twin towers, Silverstein is proposing the construction of four 50-story buildings. "I don't envision building a carbon copy of what it was," he said. Instead, 50-story buildings would allow the World Trade Center to blend in with the rest of the Manhattan skyline and ease businesses' fears of renting space on the top of the building.

"In that fashion, you could avoid the problems that could otherwise develop with two 110-story towers," Silverstein said."

What do you think?

E-mail Amy Fischbach, CEE News staff writer.