After a year-long public battle, an expensive arbitration, five months of final negotiations, last-minute grumblings, and a side deal with New Jersey, a new agreement with developer Larry Silverstein to rebuild the World Trade Center is complete.
The board of the Port Authority today voted in favor of a deal struck between Mr. Silverstein, the agency’s staff and the city and state governments that provides the developer a bailout package of sorts to allow him to build two towers on the site, provided he can find a relatively small tenant commitment and raise $300 million in capital. Given that the package accounted for hundreds of millions in new subsidies on top of old subsidies already in place, it was not a deal typical of government economic development efforts; but, in the end, the governmental powers that be opted for this over an unending stalemate that rendered the World Trade Center site paralyzed.
And thus the fighting is over. Finally. At least for now.
Assuming Mr. Silverstein (pictured) follows through on his commitments (he should have sufficient money to bring the eastern portion of the site—the only part still a large hole—up to grade), and the Port Authority sticks to its schedule, there will be two completed towers at the site by 2013: the centerpiece 1 World Trade Center and the austere 4 World Trade Center.
Should Mr. Silverstein win tenants and financing for 3 World Trade Center as he begins building it, that would be completed by 2015, according to Silverstein schedules.
With that, soon most every portion of the site will actually be moving up for the first time in the history of the redevelopment (there was a lot of excavation needed on the Silverstein sites to get them ready). All of this has meant a busy few months at the Port Authority, which finalized a purchase agreement for 1 W.T.C. with the Durst Organization, signed a letter of intent with Conde Nast to lease in that tower, and struck a deal with Delta to expand Terminal 4 at JFK.
The video of the board meeting is here.
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