The tall structure has apparently grown on World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, who had earlier said he did not like the design. After the February 27th press conference, Silverstein's spokesperson told reporters that the developer is "completely supporting the plan," and will use the insurance proceeds from the attack to pay for the 1776 foot spire.
In his proposal, Libeskind presented two different plans for commercial development in the site's five tower buildings. The buildings can fit a total of either 10 or 10.05 million square feet of office space, depending on the height of the towers and the size of the hotel in the second tallest tower. Silverstein is also likely to build these towers, and their specific design may change based on his desires.
The green, grassy area, with the footprints of the original Twin Towers marked in lighter green, will be used as the space for a memorial competition. The space is sunk 30 feet below street level, exposing a section of the "slurry walls" which keep back the Hudson River and withstood the September 11 attacks. Libeskind's original plan brought the memorial space much further below ground, down to bedrock at 70 feet.
The design was modified to better support the exposed foundations of the original World Trade Center towers and make room for the PATH station and other infrastructure, including a proposed underground bus terminal. Many victims' family members are opposed to a bus terminal in this space, saying that the area where remains were found is sacred, all the way down to bedrock. Mike Kuo, whose father died in the attack, said that changing the depth from 70 feet to 30 feet compromises the design's powerful message. "I would like to see it proven that it needs to be 30 feet," he said. "I'd like to see what goes underneath." Libeskind's revised plan does set aside a small section on the west side of the site that descends the full 70 feet down to bedrock.
Visitors would be able to arrive down to the memorial area by several different paths, including walking through the 9/11 museum itself. Others could get to the memorial by walking down two ramps, one on the southern edge of the site at Liberty Street [marked with a 3] and another on the western edge near West Street [marked with a 4].
Community Board 1 Chairperson Madeline Wils and other lower Manhattan residents are worried that the sunken area for the memorial — even at a shorter 30 feet below ground — will be a barrier for residents who want to travel easily from east to west. "The access issues still need to be dealt with," Wils said after listening to Libeskind's presentation of his modified design.
The sunken memorial area, marked with a 2 in the map, is 4.7 acres. The memorial space is "protected by the museum buildings and cultural buildings that frame it," Libeskind said in his presentation.
These cultural buildings, inside the block bounded by Fulton, Greenwich and Liberty Streets, are marked with a 3 on the map. The center building is to be a museum about September 11. The triangle shaped building across the street, marked with a 4, is the new transportation station.
On the same block are office buildings, marked with a 5, with retail on the ground floor. Libeskind has made space for 880,000 square feet of retail development — both above and below ground — on the entire site.
Libeskind also designed a network of underground infrastructure and transportation connections, which Port Authority officials say meshes well with their own plans for the site. An underground concourse connects the new buildings to the Winter Garden, the PATH station, the main transportation station, and a re-worked subway station on the east side of Broadway. Glass walls would let light from the memorial space down into the concourse. All along the underground concourse would be shops and restaurants.
Libeskind explained in his presentation that a memorial competition could commission works for several different areas in the space that he has set aside for the memorial. This map shows the sunken memorial area. The space that is marked with a number one is the 4.7 acre space, which includes the footprints of the original twin towers.
Number two is a translucent wall, which Libeskind suggests could be designed in a way that memorializes 9/11. The translucent wall would let light into the underground transportation concourse.
Number three is a special corner of the site where the slurry wall will be exposed the full 70 feet down to bedrock. Number four is a new wall that would be built on the Liberty Street side of the memorial area. This wall could also be a memorial structure.
This spring, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will begin an international memorial competition to design these elements. Development corporation official Anita Contini will pick from 7 to 11 jurors for the competition in March or April. Contini has said that she plans on having a concrete design for the memorial before September 11, 2004.
Within four years, Libeskind said in his presentation, several major elements will already be built at the World Trade Center site. The memorial space , he said, will be built and filled with a separately designed memorial. The museum  and the cultural spaces  that flank it will also be built. Libeskind also said that construction will be finished on a new lower Manhattan transportation station , on a performing arts center  north of Fulton Street and on the iconic office building  with its 1776 foot spire .
Port Authority officials, however, say that it may take closer to five or six years to build all of these elements.