Architect expects to complete framework deals this month and have key features of site finished by 2007.
The first contracts in a four-year framework for the redevelopment of New York's Ground Zero are expected to be signed by the end of the month.

Architect Daniel Libeskind, in the first presentation of his ideas in London since winning the competition to redevelop the site, said he was negotiating deals for the key features with the Lower Manhattan Corporation and the Port Authority.

The contracts under negotiation are for the masterplan of the site, a memorial garden in the centre, the restoration of the skyline in the form of a symbolic 1776 ft tower and the rebuilding of part of the subway.

Libeskind told Building that he did not want the project to look like a construction site for the next 15 years and that he was confident that much of the work would be done in four.

He said that he expected the memorial garden, a museum, the underground station, the "1776" skyscraper, a piazza and street connections to be built by 2007. He said: "I believe that this project will be built very quickly. There is a political will. There is pressure politically from the governor and the mayor. Something has to happen."

He added: "This will form a nexus of culture that defines the site. Then the rest can evolve in its own time. But not everything will be built by me. There are plenty of buildings to be built there, and there will be other architects that will do some of the towers. Nobody really knows how many years this will take. Maybe 10? Twelve? Fifteen? It depends on economic conditions and what happens in the world."

There is a political will and pressure from the governor. Something has to happen

Daniel Libeskind

Libeskind said that he wanted to create a neighbourhood in which the building knitted together with the surrounding districts rather than standing apart, as the former World Trade Centre had.

The memorial park at the centre of the site, which will be 70 ft below street level so that the foundations of the original site are visible, has a number of entrances to increase this kind of neighbourly access. It will also provide a route to the subway station.

Libeskind said: "The memorial site exposes a foundation that was never meant to be visible. And yet the foundation, as well as the skyline, is the face of the event of 11 September.

Libeskind said there would be a competition to design a 2200-seat cultural and performing arts centre in the memorial garden. Several cultural institutions, including the New York City Opera, have expressed an interest in moving to the site.

The 1776 ft main tower, the height of which represents the date of America's declaration of independence, will be the world's tallest building. It will only 70 of its storeys will be occupied to make workers more confident that they could evacuate successfully.