WTC Doubts

The dailies carried stories this morning on Mayor Bloomberg warning that Larry Silverstein could walk away from rebuilding the World Trade Center after recouping his investment (the Post) or even reaping a half-million dollars (Newsday).

We missed the press conference, but the transcript we received from City Hall shows that the stories were generated by an odd softball of a question, which the Mayor hit out of the park:

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, are you concerned about Larry Silverstein delaying Ground Zero for years and then walking away with a half a billion dollars?

Mayor: Well, there was a story in the paper that talked about the city’s analysis, which interestingly was virtually identical with the Port Authority’s analysis of the economic future of the commercial development down at the World Trade Center site. Both studies concluded that with the most optimistic defendable occupancy rates and rental rates, that in four or so years, Silverstein would run out of money ….

The real question is, just what can the Mayor do about it (aside from giving answers like these).

-Matthew Schuerman