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City backs project at terror site

As the city looks past the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, community members and officials say a future performing arts center is vital to the continued rebirth of the World Trade Center site and downtown area.

"Between now and the 10th anniversary, the focus will be on getting the memorial open and preparing for the anniversary, but as we get to this fall, everyone's going to say, 'What is the next step?' and 'How do you fully round out the site?' " said State Sen. Daniel Squadron, whose district includes lower Manhattan.

Architect Daniel Libeskind, whose master plan always envisioned a performance space that would return life to a site devastated by terrorism, used a musical analogy to describe the project as a whole.

The city remains committed to the 1,000-seat theater project anchored by The Joyce Theater dance company and says a new board is being formed to oversee its creation. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has allocated $155 million to the project, which is estimated to cost $400 million to $500 million.

But construction is at least six years away.