Silverstein Says “Yes… But”

The developer met with Port Authority officials today and gave a news conference later, saying he agreed to give up the Freedom Tower–after building it for a fee–and Tower 5. He said he was hewing closely to the joint state-city-Port Authority offer last week, but he added some conditions…like getting the Port Authority to ratify the deal before September and making sure that he is not held responsible if someone else causes delays.

His project manager, Janno Lieber, told reporters, “The Freedom Tower is ready to begin as soon as the relocation of utilities takes place and as soon as the agreement is reached. We could start tomorrow, or in a matter of days.”

Mayor Bloomberg, asked shortly afterwards, seemed willing to pretend that Silverstein was agreeing even though these details could prove trickier than they first appear. “He apparently gave a speech today saying that that’s what he would do and that’s great,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the Mayor’s office. “And the one thing we cannot do, and will not allow to have happen, is you agree in concept and then try to nickel and dime and go on forever.”

-Matthew Schuerman