Guy Tozzoli, who supervised World Trade Center development, dies at 90


In this file photo of July 19, 2007, Guy Tozzoli poses for a portrait in front of a photo he took in 1971 of the World Trade Center construction site in New York. Tozzoli died Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tozzoli was director of World Trade Center Development for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey during the construction of the twin towers. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
February 8, 2013

Guy Tozzoli, an official with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who supervised the development of New York’s original World Trade Center and then witnessed its destruction, died Feb. 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He was 90.

His death was announced by the World Trade Centers Association, an organization dedicated to furthering global trade, which he founded in 1970 and led for four decades. No cause was disclosed.

As director of World Trade Center Development for the Port Authority in the 1960s, Mr. Tozzoli oversaw the design and construction of the 110-story towers.

Mr. Tozzoli was credited with bringing Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki to the project. He also fought for the Windows on the World restaurant to be included in the north tower, and it was his idea to use the dirt excavated for the trade center as landfill to build Battery Park City.

Guy Frederick Tozzoli was born Feb. 12, 1922, in North Bergen, N.J., and was a graduate of Fordham University in New York, where he also received a master’s degree in physics. He joined the Port Authority in 1946 and spent his entire career there except for Navy service during the Korean War. In the 1950s, he helped design the world’s first container port in Newark, N.J.

Mr. Tozzoli was given the task of planning and building the World Trade Center in 1962. He coordinated construction of the massive project and then focused on leasing it.

“It will be a city with a working population of 50,000 and a landmark that will attract 80,000 visitors daily,” Mr. Tozzoli said in an interview during that time. “The center’s 10 million square feet of space will make it larger than Rockefeller Center. And it’s going to mean a worldwide selling job on our part to get tenants to occupy it.”

Mr. Tozzoli retired from the Port Authority in 1986 but maintained an office at the trade center, where the agency was headquartered. He spent three hours trapped in a staircase when terrorists set off a truck bomb in 1993.

Mr. Tozzoli was about to enter the Holland Tunnel heading into Manhattan from New Jersey when hijacked planes struck the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. He saw the smoking north tower and then watched in horror as the second plane hit the south tower, destroying the project that had been his life’s work.

His first marriage, to Miriam Lane Johnson, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Cynthia; six children from his first marriage; a sister; and two grandchildren, according to the New York Times.

— Associated Press