Gotham broadcasters have become the first tenants of the planned Freedom Tower at Ground Zero and will use the new spire to hoist powerful antennas lost when the World Trade Center came down.
The Metropolitan Television Alliance signed a memo of understanding this week with developer Larry Silverstein that calls for the construction of a broadcast mast atop the 1,776-foot tower.
After 9/11, the station alliance had to put up temporary antennas on the Empire State Building. Stations in the alliance include the major broadcast affiliates and WNET-13, among others.
New Jersey nixed
Alliance was contemplating building a stand-alone tower in New Jersey, but the Federal Aviation Administration frowned upon the idea.
Construction of the Freedom Tower is skedded to begin next summer. It will likely be 2008 or 2009 before the structure is completed.
“This is an important development in terms of a commitment to lower Manhattan,” Alliance spokesman Pat Smith said. “Also, it’s an important development for the 700,000 households that rely on a broadcast signal.”
Reception hasn’t been the best since 9/11.
Rent north of $9 mil
Before the twin towers came down, the TV alliance was paying $9 million a year. Rent at the Freedom Tower will be north of that figure, but the parties wouldn’t disclose the precise amount.
Broadcasters also will contribute to construction costs along the way.
“Considering that the TV antennas for many years had been located on the North Tower, it is fitting and appropriate that they come back to the World Trade Center at the pinnacle of the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, higher than before, and redefine the skyline of New York,” Silverstein said in a statement.