The plans for the site were the subject of considerable controversy following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Eventually a design competition was held, but the winning designs have since been modified considerably to address practical concerns.
Those concerns include turning the new building into a financially viable venture on what is widely considered hallowed ground. Cushman and Wakefield, which won the bidding to become the leasing agent, is in talks with the Durst Group of New York to develop the property.
The hope is that the building's 2.9 million square feet of office space will be roughly 60 percent leased by the time the building is ready for occupancy in 2013, Stacom said.
Meanwhile, a plan to build a 13-story community Islamic center with a mosque, two blocks from the WTC site, is drawing its share of controversy and opposition. Though NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg—and others—support the center on the grounds that the US Constitution guarantees religious freedom, a recent poll by Siena College shows 63 percent of New Yorkers oppose the location of the center due to its proximity Ground Zero.
The tower project got a major boost earlier this month when magazine publisher Conde Nast signed a letter of intent, reportedly agreeing to take as much as one million square feet of space. It is not a definitive agreement, however, and Cushman and Wakefield is continuing to pitch the building to prospective tenants around the world.
Among the inevitable concerns is security at such a high profile site, but Stacom believes the issue has been addressed well.
"There will be no safer building in New York City than One World. We have surpassed the New York building code significantly, we have built well in excess of what's required," Stacom said.
Even at this stage in the construction, with the building still a skeleton, the extra measures are obvious. There will also be plenty of security screening.
Visitors to the observatory and restaurant near the top of the structure will use a different entrance to the building than the tenants.
Stacom acknowledges the site is a "place for remembering," but is emphasizing to prospective tenants that it is also a prime location in a resurgent neighborhood, and, rare for Manhattan, a skyscraper virtually surrounded by open space.
If the building opens on schedule, it will be more than 12 years after the 2001 attacks, and 40 years after the second of the twin towers was completed in 1973.