World Trade Center Owner Grants Extension to Developer Larry SilversteinMay 29, 2008
The owner of the World Trade Center site has given developer Larry Silverstein a six-month extension to build an office tower to allow him to adjust the design to accommodate investment banking giant Merrill Lynch & Co.
A 2006 agreement between Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave him until 2012 to complete the tower designed by British architect Richard Rogers, or give up development rights to all three towers he is building at the site.
Merrill Lynch & Co., currently located at the World Financial Center opposite ground zero, negotiated last fall with Silverstein and considered moving to midtown near Penn Station. But the brokerage decided not to move shortly after it posted a US$2.24-billion third-quarter loss, leading to the departure of its CEO last fall.
The six-month extension approved by the Port Authority would let Silverstein build the foundation differently for the tower, possibly to accommodate wider trading floors that Merrill Lynch had opted for last fall.
The prospect of a major Merrill Lynch move would also mark a significant boost in the effort to attract Wall Street firms to the former World Trade Center site.
“Merrill Lynch is downtown’s largest private-sector employer,” said World Trade Center Properties President Janno Lieber, adding that they still plan to complete construction in 2012.