Eric R Dahl, chief executive officer of the World Trade Centers (WTC) Association, whose first iconic home was destroyed in the airborne terrorist attack on New York in September 2001, tells Dilasha Seth & Indivjal Dhasmana that WTCs are underrepresented in India, though more are coming up. Edited interview:
The infamous crashing down of the twin towers in New York happened in September 2001. How did your organisation deal with that?
The building was targeted; it was not something we could control. The new building is opening in 15-18 months, and the new WTC will start operations in 2014. The new WTC is going to be more important than the old WTC because there are so much of memories related to this event. It is going to be a number one destination in the US. You have the base of the two (razed) buildings, which is a memorial. Around the memorial, there will be seven towers. Tower number one will be the tallest and then they go down in sizes. Seven architects from seven nations designed the buildings.
In India, you are expanding to Manesar and Greater Noida, besides your present offices in Mumbai and Bangalore. What are the plans like?
There are two projects, Spire Edge in Manesar and Spire Tech in Greater Noida. Both have been designated WTCs. Spire Edge or WTC, Manesar, is 1.6 million sq ft for mixed-use development, wherein we are having offices of 1.3 mn sq ft, then residential, retail and service apartments. WTC, Noida, is 2.5 mn sq ft, for mixed-use development.
How is the association distributed country-wise?
We have 130 WTCs across the globe. In America, we have the highest number of offices, around 60; in China, 36.
What are the plans for India?
We have a big potential to open more WTCs for India. It is an important market; India and China are high growth economies. It’s a function of cities reaching a certain stage in development, where the demand for international trade becomes larger enough to satisfy having a building and joining our global network.