U.N. complex in New York gets $2 billion facelift

By ANITA SNOW – Associated Press – March 5, 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The whirr of saws and buzz of drills flood buildings better accustomed to the speeches of world leaders as the United Nations’ iconic headquarters in New York gets a makeover. Gone are the pneumatic tubes and the toxic asbestos.

And blast-proof panes are replacing the original windows — addressing terrorism concerns in a post-9/11 world.

The first major renovation of the 60-year-old headquarters has been slowed by extra security measures, said New York architect Michael Adlerstein, the project’s executive director and a U.N. assistant secretary-general. The final cost will be nearly $2 billion — about 4 percent over the original budget.

Terrorists have increasingly targeted U.N. compounds, with 12 staff members fatally injured in August by a car bomb at the compound in Abuja, Nigeria. Top envoy Sergio Vieira del Mello was among 21 people killed in a 2003 attack on the organization’s Baghdad complex.