Larry Silverstein Optimistic About Pace Of WTC DevelopmentJun 14, 2011
After years of bickering and stalled plans at the World Trade Center site, leaseholder Larry Silverstein said Tuesday he is optimistic about the progress happening there and what it means for the future of Downtown Manhattan. NY1’s Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
The power struggle is over, it seems, and now there is tangible progress at the World Trade Center site — particularly on One World Trade Center, now 68 stories tall.
However, leaseholder Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties told a real estate conference Tuesday he still takes issue with the building’s name.”They call it Tower 1, but for those of us who were here from the beginning, it’s the Freedom Tower.
Always will be the Freedom Tower,” he said.While the Port Authority is building Tower 1, Silverstein is building the other three towers, including Tower 4, which is now 32 stories.Altogether, there is $20 billion of construction taking place at the site, and Silverstein said the high cost is in part because of safety standards that go beyond what’s required by law.
“We studied carefully and learned as a result of our study what happened on 9/11 and therefore how not to build a high-rise office building,” said Silverstein. “So the net result is, these buildings are much more costly because they’re much better buildings, much safer buildings.
“There was consensus at the Tuesday meeting that Downtown Manhattan’s revival is in full bloom. The remaining point of contention was what took progress so long to get to this point, or given the site’s complexity, whether it took so long at all.
“If you think about Metrotech or if you think about Battery Park City or if you think about major projects around the country, 10 years is really a short time for a major urban development,” said Carl Weisbrod of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate.”I still believe from a government efficiency standpoint, it would have made sense to have had less players involved. There were too many proverbial chefs in the kitchen,” said Community Board 1 Chairwoman Julie Menin.
Construction on Towers 2 and 3 still depends on securing financing and tenants, but Silverstein is optimistic.”By 2016, we should be out of here. This should all be done, and it’ll be an incredible advantage to Lower Manhattan,” said Silverstein.NY1 will observe progress at the World Trade Center throughout the summer from a workspace in the Millennium Hotel overlooking the site, and Bobby Cuza will file reports every night Tuesday through Thursday.