Freedom Tower antenna deal nixed

0 reports that the deal to broadcast 11 stations from atop the planned Freedom Tower has fallen apart, seemingly bringing to a close years of negotiations. According to the story, the Metropolitan Television Alliance, a consortium of local television stations, last month informed the Port Authority that it would not be proceeding with a deal for its members to broadcast from an antenna atop the 102-story tower at the World Trade Center site.

The collapse of the deal further strains the finances of the Port Authority at the Lower Manhattan site, as a basic agreement struck with the MTVA in 2003 called for an annual rent of about $10 million, on top of a $20 million payment to build the antenna. The Port Authority owns the site and is building the Skidmore Owings & Merrill-designed Freedom Tower, known officially as 1 World Trade Center.

The agency, says the story, is now considering whether to build a less costly antenna—the price was north of $20 million—with the hopes of striking a new deal later on, or to build a spire that has an aesthetic function alone. Antenna deal or not, the agency still plans for a spire atop the $3.1 billion tower to bring the building to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

“This continues to be part of the design,” Stephen Sigmund, a Port Authority spokesman, said of the 408-foot spire.