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April 25, 2006

Developer to Accept 'Economic Terms' of Trade Center Deal


By CHARLES V. BAGLI

Larry A Silverstein will announce this afternoon that he has accepted the economic terms of a new deal at ground zero, which reduces his overall role but still allows him to build three skyscrapers on the most valuable parcels on the 16-acre site, ending nearly five months of struggle over the future of the trade center site.

Mr. Silverstein has scheduled a news conference for 2:30 p.m. at 7 World Trade Center where, associates said, he will make the announcement.

The deal, if it is ultimately approved by all sides, would also end the uncertainty that downtown executives say has hampered the resurgence of Lower Manhattan, while clearing the way for construction to start on the Freedom Tower.

But the turmoil at ground zero will not disappear. Rebuilding officials expect that the focus will now shift from commercial development at ground zero to the troubled memorial project. Consultants are expected to deliver a report in the next week showing that the cost of the memorial and a museum has swelled to as much as $800 million from $500 million. Fund-raising has been sluggish at best.

Mr. Silverstein, who leased the World Trade Center site from the Port Authority six weeks before it was destroyed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, would cede responsibility for building the Freedom Tower, the largest, most symbolic and troubled skyscraper planned for the site, to the authority.

Despite its symbolic role, the Freedom Tower was widely regarded as too big, located in the wrong spot, and unlikely to be attractive to corporate tenants, who view the building as a target.

The deal is an attempt to put the project on a viable financial footing. The state has pledged to contribute $250 million and round up 1 million square feet of leases, most likely to federal agencies. The tower would also get about $970 million in insurance proceeds toward an estimated cost of $2 billion.

For the 74-year-old developer, the deal is a capitulation. Mr. Silverstein has long insisted that he has both the right and the ability to develop the entire ground zero site. The new arrangement recognizes that he does not have enough money to do the $7 billion job and, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg argued, that he could have defaulted on his lease, walking away with millions and an unfinished project.

Officials from the Pataki, Corzine and Bloomberg administration have said the plan amounts to a blueprint for rebuilding the entire 16-acre World Trade Center site by 2012, with the Port Authority providing $100 million for the Sept. 11 memorial.

The unified plan was put together and proposed last week by Gov. George E. Pataki, Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Mayor Bloomberg after nearly three weeks of wary negotiations.

The latest impasse arose with the groundbreaking for the Freedom Tower, which had been planned for this month. There was also a growing realization that there was not enough money to rebuild the entire site, although Mr. Silverstein insisted that he could do the job.

Mr. Pataki had championed the Freedom Tower, the largest of five proposed towers, as a way of restoring New York's skyline with a symbol of resilience.

Mr. Bloomberg raised the possibility that Mr. Silverstein would build only two towers before running out of money in 2009, defaulting on his lease and walking away from the project with hundreds of millions of dollars. Better to deal with the problem now, he said.

Under the unified government plan described last week, the Port Authority would take control of the Freedom Tower project, using $1.7 billion in tax-free Liberty Bonds and about $970 million in insurance money. Mr. Silverstein would be paid to build it. The Pataki administration would provide $250 million and has pledged to secure leases for about one million square feet from federal agencies, which would enable the authority to obtain additional financing. Mr. Schumer said last night that federal customs officials were interested in a large block of the space.

The authority would also take control of a site on Greenwich Street, which it would probably sell to a residential developer.

Mr. Silverstein, in turn, would develop three office towers along Church Street, between Vesey and Liberty Streets. To ensure that he builds quickly, the city and the Port Authority are offering to lease 1.2 million square feet at market rates, according to Anthony R. Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority, and Kenneth J. Ringler, the authority's executive director, and the city would provide Liberty Bonds for financing. But his development fee would be restricted to 2.5 percent, not the 5 percent he originally demanded.

In the coming months, the authority would design plans with Mr. Silverstein for a shopping mall that would be part of two of his towers, then sell it to him and a retail developer. In addition, Mr. Silverstein would be required to adhere to strict construction schedules and contribute at least $140 million toward the cost of common infrastructure.














Silverstein surrenders rights to Freedom Tower


All Financial Times NewsLarry Silverstein, the Manhattan developer who has fought a nearly five-year battle to maintain control of rebuilding on the World Trade Center site, on Tuesday surrendered the right to develop the Freedom Tower, the tallest and most symbolic of the buildings on the 16-acre property.

The agreement was hailed as the end of months of stalemate and inaction at Ground Zero that has increasingly become an embarrassment for New York officials. All five buildings on the site are planned to be completed by 2012 under the new framework.


NEW YORK (AP) — World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein and government officials agreed Tuesday to most terms of a deal that scales back his role at the site and surrenders his job as landlord of the iconic Freedom Tower, ending four months of messy negotiations over control of ground zero.

The rewriting of Silverstein's 99-year lease to the fallen twin towers would give the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, control of two out of five planned office towers, including the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower that Silverstein has been developing. Silverstein would lease three other towers that are considered to be in more lucrative spots on the 16-acre lower Manhattan site.

Officials said the deal ensures all five planned towers would be built by 2012.

"This is about moving the rebuilding forward as quickly as possible," Silverstein said at a news conference outside his 7 World Trade Center building facing ground zero. "All the finger-pointing must stop."

Silverstein sent a letter Tuesday to top executives at the Port Authority agreeing to accept the economic terms of its latest offer. Several hours later, the agency said it would seek board approval for most elements of the deal at its meeting on Wednesday. The Port Authority was waiting for written approval from Silverstein before scheduling the vote.

The agreement left open the possibility that construction still could begin on the Freedom Tower by the end of the week, which politicians have repeatedly promised. Janno Lieber, a Silverstein company vice president, said "we can start it tomorrow" with an agreement.

The deal would give the Port Authority control of the skyscraper that is symbolically replacing the twin towers, but Silverstein would continue as its developer.

Silverstein would build three towers on the site and pay an additional $1.75 billion in rent over his 99-year lease in exchange for promises to fill more than 1 million square feet of office space towers under Silverstein's control with state and city leases. The Port Authority promised to secure additional leases and would move executive offices into the Freedom Tower, said vice chairman Charles Gargano.

The Port Authority would take over a fifth tower, located just off the site, which Silverstein said likely would become an apartment building.

Gov. George Pataki said the plan "will make certain that the rebuilt World Trade Center will anchor the financial capital of the world and make our nation proud."

State officials agreed to contribute $250 million to help build the office space, and Silverstein and the Port Authority agreed to divide billions of dollars in insurance proceeds and tax-exempt bonds to rebuild. Silverstein's higher rent would help the agency provide $100 million for the trade center memorial.

Silverstein said he would accept the deal with conditions, including a guarantee that he wouldn't lose the right to build all towers if the Port Authority couldn't secure promised leases or prepare land for him to build in time. The deal requires him to build three towers surrounding a transit hub by 2011.

The Port Authority, which also owns the region's airports and shipping piers, began renegotiating Silverstein's lease in December. It walked out of the talks in mid-March, saying Silverstein was being greedy.

The developer and politicians have accused each other in recent weeks of being unreasonable and stalling rebuilding.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of Silverstein's harshest critics, said Tuesday that Silverstein took a risk by leasing the twin towers in 2001, six weeks before the Sept. 11 attack, "and he deserves to be compensated for it."

But "there just comes a time in every negotiation where you have to say enough," he said. "I think that time is now."


Facts
- Freedom Tower's cornerstone was placed during a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 4, 2004.
- The 200-foot-high base will be coated in titanium and stainless panels, including the 80-foot-high lobby, to deflect potential bomb blasts.
- The 414-feet tall decorative spire will encase an antenna with a lighting system to make it into a beacon.
- There will be an outdoor observation deck at 1,362 feet above the ground, the same height as the one on the old South Tower. A parapet wall will then rise six more feet to a height of 1,368, the same heigh as the old North Tower.
- The desired schedule for construction, calls for the tower's foundation to commence April of 2006, concrete to grade by the end of 2007, topping out in 2009 and completion in 2011.
- This building will consist of 69 office floors, and 13 non-office floors with uses ranging from mechanical to dining.













 

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Construction didn't start yet (aside from getting the base ready), BUT they say it could start even tomorrow. In any case, Freedom Tower is an amazing skyscraper. I would like to see more info on the other four skyscrapers of the rebuilt WTC too.
 

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they layed the cornerstone like 2 years ago, its about damn time. totally disregard those other 4 WTC towers because they have new developers and are going to look nothing like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ok number 1- talk about the FT

2- obviously not, our official metric system is completely different than the intl scale.

3- we also spell it meter. (potato, potatoe)



i dont see many intl forumers putting up feet either.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
spicytimothy said:
o man.. the design is so bland... It doesn't do the fallen tower any justice at all... :-(
at this point, were just anxious to get this thing up. its no secret a 4 year old couldve designed a better looking tower.
 

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qUikSiLvEr4988 said:
ok number 1- talk about the FT

2- obviously not, our official metric system is completely different than the intl scale.

3- we also spell it meter. (potato, potatoe)



i dont see many intl forumers putting up feet either.

I prefer m to ft either (and Im from england).
 

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qUikSiLvEr4988 said:
ok number 1- talk about the FT

you started it...


anyway, I don't think, anything will happen there. I see the other towers to get built sooner than the FT. and I hope they find a new name for it...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
yea, as a joke, and it was dragged on for no reason.

this building will be a punchline for years to come. As Americans, and NYers, on the intl scale, i think a great deal are embarrassed by it, more like Freedumb Tower.

the best we can do? bullshit!!
 
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