Pataki's premature groundbreaking.

What we build.
July 2 2004 7:43 AM

Let Freedom Tower!

Pataki's premature groundbreaking is par for the site.

(Continued from Page 1)

Then there is the question of tenants. It's possible that Pataki will announce a deal with an anchor tenant for the tower on Sunday morning, but without one, the building remains effectively a speculative venture. Prospective occupants are hardly rushing to secure their space inside.

All this is looking more and more like the process that brought us the original Twin Towers in the late 1960s and early '70s. Then, as now, an ambitious Republican governor pushed through the construction of an oversized new architectural project that promised to flood lower Manhattan with more commercial space than even the rosiest projections suggested it needed.

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History seems to be repeating itself, in other words, and hardly in a way that breeds much confidence. That suggests that if the Freedom Tower planners were going to hold the building's cornerstone ceremony on a holiday that shares its name with a well-known Hollywood movie, Independence Day would be the wrong one. Remember that 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray in which he kept waking up to discover he was living the same day over again?

Exactly. Feb. 2 would have been a much better choice.

Christopher Hawthorne is the architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times.

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