An Australian businessman plans to invite war veterans and first responders alike to have a drink, relax and even network for jobs in a posh lounge atop the Freedom Tower — a landmark skyscraper he calls “a big middle finger to terrorism.”
The new lounge — under construction on the 82nd floor of One World Trade Center — will offer active military service members and veterans of the US, Australia and other friendly nations a “place to relax, do focused work, or have a meeting” so that they can also “pursue the myriad of career opportunities the city offers,” said David Collard, an Australian-born executive whose firm recently secured the lease.
The chic venue will occupy the southeast corner of a 36,100-square-foot office space, overlooking the southern tip of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty — “a global symbol of freedom” which embodies “timeless principles of democracy that so many veterans and first responders have lived in service to,” Collard told The Post.
He said his firm, Scale Facilitation — which recently launched a technology-sharing initiative between Australia and New York-based developers of cleaner lithium-ion batteries — will have a designated employee to work with “mission-focused partner organizations” such as Special Operators Transition Foundations so that veterans and first responders will be able to access the lounge.
Collard, an Aussie native and longtime New York resident, told The Post that he was moved by the recent anniversaries of the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lease space at the Lower Manhattan skyscraper, which has come to symbolize the area’s revitalization two decades after the worst terrorist atrocity on US soil.
“Getting a secure office in the World Trade Center is an important show of intent to our stakeholders that we are investing in the future and have long-term plans for growth,” Collard told The Post. “It will help attract community-based and international talent and is a way of giving back to the city.”
Still under construction, the lounge will be completed in around six months, according to Collard. He said the area will be unveiled in conjunction with his company registering a charity that will help military veterans transition to a post-military career.
Collard told The Post that the lounge will offer his firm will offer vets “cold drinks of their choice from our well-stocked fridge” and is in the process of obtaining the required liquor licenses.
Scale Facilitation, a tech company that bolsters cooperation between American and Australian firms in both the public and private sectors, has placed military veterans in leadership positions on the advisory board as well as in key management posts, Collard said.
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