Cold Feet

Facing probable defeat at a vote tomorrow by a city-run panel, developer Larry Silverstein has withdrawn his application for $3.345 billion in triple-tax-free Liberty Bonds that he needs to rebuild the World Trade Center, according to the developer and the panel, the Industrial Development Agency. “While I am disappointed that we could not resolve all of the issues in time for tomorrow’s I.D.A. board meeting, I remain optimistic that we, the city and the state will come to resolution in the near future,” Silverstein said in a statement this afternoon.

That the two sides had not made a deal already was not in itself that surprising. Last week, I.D.A. Chairman Andrew Alper, who runs the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said that the city wanted the developer to lower his development fee, agree to “clawbacks” that would permit the I.D.A. to withhold part of the bonds if a timetable is not met, and agree to having another company develop retail areas. At the time, Alper said that the I.D.A. might discuss the bonds this week but put off a final vote until later. Apparently not. The bonds are on the agenda for next month—but withdrawing the applications suggests even bigger changes in Silverstein’s strategy–in response to what must have been a full-court press by Mayor Bloomberg.

Matthew Schuerman

Cold Feet