This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 9, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Take a look at this: This tower is set to be the replacement of the communication towers that once stood atop the World Trade Center. One New York architecture firm has plans in hand and is ready to build it, what would ultimately be the tallest structure in the world. The only problem, no one can decide on where to put it. Slated to be the world's tallest structure, as I said, folks are having serious reservations about housing it in their own backyard.
Joining me now is Eugene Kohn. He is the president of the Kohn Pedersen Fox architecture firm.
EUGENE KOHN, KOHN PEDERSEN FOX PRES.: Good to have you with us.
Good to be here.
CAVUTO: What would this be, exactly? It wouldn't be a building; it would just be essentially a radar station, right?
KOHN: Well, it's a transmission tower, basically, for TV. I'm sure everyone has driven across the middle of the country. In Nebraska, you see these very tall structures with guide wires, and they're transmission towers. But they take up enormous space.
CAVUTO: Now, how would this be like the Seattle Needle?
KOHN: It would be similar in its design, although ours is quite different.
CAVUTO: Well, that has a restaurant and an observation deck. Will this?
KOHN: With this, we would like to see it happen, and we are going to plan it for it, to do it. But, to be honest right now, because of what's happened in 9/11, there is concern about terrorism, and getting terrorist insurance in order to build such a structure. I think that's the single biggest problem I'm having now.
CAVUTO: I can't imagine you'd find anyone who would...
KOHN: Insure it?
KOHN: Well, I guess for the right fee, they would.
CAVUTO: OK. Astronomical fee at that. This is going to dwarf a lot of the traditional -- like the Eiffel Towers and the Space Needles, some of these others. Why something so tall? Why do you need it so tall?
KOHN: OK. That's a very good -- it's all technical, it's not aesthetic, it's not trying to build the world's tallest structure. The height needs to be to the top of the needle either 1,800 feet to 2,000, and 2,000 feet is preferable, because high definition television, which is supposed to come online in about two years or less, requires height of vision, visible lines to all of the areas that receive TV. So by being the tallest structure, you can then penetrate that area. If it's lower, you would have not a very good reception, so it is the height that deals with technology.
CAVUTO: And New Jersey is the closest site for this. It has been pooh-poohed in Queens and Brooklyn and some of the others?
KOHN: Yeah, well, we looked at it in several sites -- we started with Red Hook. Governor's Island was one we all kind of liked, because it is I think ideal in terms of the harbor.
CAVUTO: Besides being symbolic.
KOHN: Very symbolic. I think, as you have seen, many New Yorkers miss the World Trade towers. And whether they get rebuilt or not is another question, but this tower could replace them on the skyline as a major icon and a major force. And should New York be selected for the Olympics, it would also be a wonderful, wonderful image.
CAVUTO: Who pays for this, Eugene?
KOHN: Well, the TV networks, along with either the local community or developers, who would like to build it and also get income -- there are a number of scenarios.
CAVUTO: The only way to get income is if you have a restaurant or an observation deck, am I right?
KOHN: Well, I mean, you could invest the money and build this tower and then charge all the networks a certain rent. And they might put some of the equity up. But the restaurant -- the tourist attraction, basically, would help pay for it, yes.
CAVUTO: In this area, especially at this anniversary time of 9/11, people are still scared of going up too high in any building, let alone something that would be a structure of this size here.
KOHN: Well, I understand that, and my thoughts would be, you design it to allow for tourists to come, but you may not have them initially. Because you needed the transmission, that's critical. I mean, there are homes in Brooklyn that do not have TV transmission today because of the loss of the World Trade towers.
CAVUTO: The back-up there was the Empire State Building, and it's not tall enough.
KOHN: It's needed, but I think that the tourism will come. You know, I'm hopeful that in time, 9/11 gets healed and people return to the tall building. I think they will.
CAVUTO: I was telling you before the break, I don't know whether you are a brilliant visionary or just crazy, but I guess you'd opt for the former, right?
KOHN: I think I would.
CAVUTO: All right, Eugene Kohn, thank you very much.
KOHN: Thank you.
CAVUTO: The man behind what could be a big undertaking here in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
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