Freedom Tower, Again Uncertain

Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia resurrected doubts about the Freedom Tower’s future at a Crain’s breakfast this morning, six weeks after April’s sunny announcement which transferred ownership of the Freedom Tower from Silverstein Properties to the bi-state transportation agency.

“The agreement contemplates that we will go between now and September and we will decide whether or not we have the kind of leases for that building which make it a financially viable project,” Coscia said.

Coscia did not specify what would happen if those leases were not signed. “It is possible at that stage we would rethink the project,” he said, when asked whether the tower would be scaled back. A Port Authority official told The Real Estate later that the tower would be built–the question was whether it would attain its 1,776-foot height.

Coscia also said that the construction underway that would bring the tower up to grade should continue.

None of the publicity surrounding the April’s agreement with Silverstein Properties even hinted that securing 1 million square feet in leases from government entities would be a problem. Coscia, while saying that negotiating with the federal government is slow, said, “We are pleased with the progress to date and I am optimistic that by September we will have leases.”

Optimistic? If this is something you need to be optimistic about, how do things look if you are realistic?

-Matthew Schuerman