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Google Earth Map Gives a 4D View of Downtown Construction

By Julie Shapiro | June 8, 2010 1:59pm | Updated on June 8, 2010 2:45pm

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — A new computer model offers a glimpse into the future of lower Manhattan.

Launched Monday, the interactive Google Earth map shows what the fast-changing neighborhood below Canal Street will look like when all the construction is finally complete.

Viewers can turn the clock forward to 2018 and zoom around the completed skyscrapers, including One World Trade Center and Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower.

The 4D model — the fourth dimension is time— also provides a wealth of information about current and future construction projects, including timelines, renderings and in-progress photos.

“Everything changes down here virtually every day,” said Bob Harvey, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, the city-state agency that produced the model. “[The map] will give you the best information we have access to.”

The lower Manhattan agency is still working through some glitches — for example, the Deutsche Bank building stands a full 41 stories tall on the map, even though it is now demolished down to the 14th floor. And those who move the map back in time to 1999 will immediately notice the premature absence of the original Twin Towers.

As Harvey unveiled the online map at a Community Board 1 meeting Monday night, he also made the case for his agency’s survival. The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center is slated to sunset at the end of the year, a date that was supposed to mark the end of the major construction downtown.

But many projects have fallen behind schedule, and Harvey estimates that the neighborhood’s post-9/11 residential and commercial development is only 40 percent complete, and the street reconstructions are just 30 percent complete.

Harvey said the city and state both want to extend the LMCCC’s mandate, but bureaucratic inertia is getting in the way.

“It hasn’t moved forward yet, but we’re pushing to make sure it does,” Harvey said. “The clock is ticking.”