Silverstein’s Response

Larry Silverstein gave his response to this morning’s Port Authority news conference, maintaining a mixture of befuddlement and reproach towards the breakdown of last night’s talks over rebuilding the World Trade Center.

“Nothing we had proposed was a departure from what has been discussed previously,” he said at his own presser in the Jenny Holzered-lobby at 7 World Trade Center—which, he did not fail to mention, is the only permanent building to have been constructed at Ground Zero since 9/11. “And there were absolutely no ultimatums on our part.”

Silverstein returned to the negotiating table at 11 p.m., took off his jacket and drank two cups of coffee, which Janno Lieber, project manager for the World Trade Center, said proved the developer’s intention to negotiate all night. Silverstein would not give details on how far apart the two sides were, except to say that they were “very close” on key principles and within 3 percent when it came to the reductions in rent escalations.

“It is inexcusable that the Port Authority abruptly walked away from the talks without a plan to move forward,” Silverstein said.

Ah, but the Port Authority does have a plan. It is to have Silverstein come back with a better offer. Silverstein, maintaining that his last offer was no worse than previous ones, said he was ready to return to talks right away.

A Silverstein source said that the developer had called Governor Pataki this morning to ask his help to restart negotiations. The Governor has yet to return the call, he said.

-Matthew Schuerman