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Sub shop to open at Ground Zero Freedom Tower site

Construction cranes work over the rising steel frame

Construction cranes work over the rising steel frame of 1 World Trade Center in New York. The tower is also known by its former name, Freedom Tower. (Dec. 10, 2009) Credit: AP

The $5 foot-long will soon be available high overhead, complete with panoramic views that will only get better.

Steel workers laying the skeleton of the Freedom Tower Wednesday hoisted a Subway restaurant five floors into the sky - the final piece of a floating city put in place inside the naked beams of the Freedom Tower - that will rise with the structure.

The floating city consists of 36 old shipping containers divided into four wings surrounding the crane, which sits in the middle of the structure, said Bill Grutta, vice president of operations for DCM Erectors, which is making and installing the steel for the project.

The Subway sits in one wing and will be operated by Richard Schragger, who owns four other Subway restaurants, one near the site. His deal with DCM ensures that he will at least break even; any profits he makes are his to keep.

In addition to the restaurant, the floating city will include heat, air-conditioning, bathrooms, locker rooms, data-equipped field offices and a composting system for waste.

To the 200 steel workers, the Port Authority staff and contractors, the floating city will provide a respite from the long trek to the ground for a bite to eat or a Porta-Potty break.

Workers are typically given a 30-minute break and, as the tower rises, they will have to take multiple elevators to reach the ground, eating up more than 45 minutes just in travel time - each way.

DCM boasts that the floating city is the first of its kind in U.S. tower building.

The Subway restaurant was selected because it submitted the lowest of nine bids - and was the favorite of construction workers.

The tower, which is scheduled to be finished in 2013, is now five stories high. When complete, it will rise 105 stories and feature an upscale restaurant and observation deck.

The brainchild of DCM owner Larry Davis, the floating city sits on a hydraulic system a couple of floors above the last concrete floor, Grutta said.

"Everybody is putting up a little bit of risk at the end of the day," Schragger said. "When I heard about it, I was thrilled to be a part of it."

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