Silverstein: Gimme Two Years and I’ll Have My 3 WTC Tenant

123991801 e1327417462580 Silverstein: Gimme Two Years and Ill Have My 3 WTC Tenant

Not giving up, going up. (Getty Images)

So maybe it wasn’t a bombshell after all, the “news” yesterday that Larry Silverstein might not be able to finish 3 World Trade Center all the way, leaving it instead as a seven-story retail and mechanical stump for the time being. In a statement, the downtown don insists he will find a tenant, and he has about two years to do it before he must truly pull the trigger and decide to cap the tower or to keep building.

We are 100 percent committed and determined to build 3 World Trade Center to the top as quickly as possible.  We agreed to a plan in 2010 that requires us to pre-lease 10 floors of office space before moving forward with the full tower.  We are currently speaking with a number of potential tenants and remain fully optimistic that we will sign a lease in time to complete the tower as scheduled in 2015.  That agreement, which anticipated the completion of the podium in 2013, in no way prevents us from moving full steam ahead as soon as we secure a tenant.

As The Observer reported yesterday, Port Authority executive director Pat Foye expects the same outcome. “He needs a 400,000-square-foot tenant, or tenants, and my money’s on that he’ll get it and that tower will go forward,” he told reporters at an industry luncheon yesterday.

And yet the Post‘s Steve Cuozzo says the leasing and development scene is the quietest he’s seen it in too long. Not exactly a promising sign, but also not a death sentence given how much time there is to work this deal out. “We tried to coax developers and/or reps to put their sunniest spin on things, but — maybe because they’re being more honest these days — they wouldn’t bite,” Mr. Cuozzo wrote in his Realty Check column today. Perhaps everyone is just holding their breath until Europe sorts itself out. Not to mention the rumors about China and everywhere else.

One place Silverstein will not be looking for help? City Hall. Mayor Bloomberg told reporters yesterday that there would be no extra help for 3 World Trade Center.“We’re not in the business of supporting commercial real estate,” the mayor said, according to the Post.

Just another day at Ground Zero.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    The shock in the media that the WTC recovery may be limited to the current Mutt and Jeff skyline is bizarre, since, as the PA and Silverstein have pointed out quite rightly, it is not news. But while the media does not exactly have an ear to the ground, this article couldn’t have a more aptly worded headline – because “gimme” is Larry Silverstein’s favorite word. And it’s obviously worked wonders. 

    A man who was contractually on the hook for not only restoring the 10 million square feet that were destroyed on 9/11 at his own expense – but also for paying to clear the site — was relieved of the responsibilty for both, which were shifted to th public for no clear reason.

    The Port Authority, which had no obligation on 9/12/2001, beyond restoring the transportation infrastructure and the implicit responsibility for a memorial, assumed Silverstein’s responsibility to build the $3.2 billion Freedom Tower, while only receiving $1 billion of the $4.55 billion insurance proceeds to build it. On top of that, officials transferred $3 billion in Liberty Bonds on the leaseholder. And he still sued them!

    Silverstein was seeking  $3.5 billion from the PA (aka the public) two years ago and came out of the arbitration with a pledge of $600 million in public funds to build Tower 3 — he prefers “backstop” — and the year before what amounted to a year’s free rent was underwritten by the public. 

    So now, who else but the Silverstein/Rubenstein PR machine had any reason to plant the story that he may reluctantly have to cap the tower instead – giving him and the PA the opportunity to say how confident they are about the future, while once again cynically lowering the public’s expectations?

    The Port Authority has spent or pledged $11 billion of the public’s money to the site — which is why tolls that only climbed to $4 in the PA’s first 85 years have now tripled to $12. In addition, the Liberty Bond funding provided $8 billion to the site. The insurance payout was $4.55. The TSA has pledged $2 billion to the ridiculous PATH “hub” — which is now expected to cost more than twice as much as the Fulton Street Station with its dozen subway lines.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Silverstein doesn’t have any personal capital invested in the property — putting his own resources, for instance, into China and a hotel at Disney World — while private citizens pay his way at Ground Zero. He even took his original downpayment back from the proceeds of an insurance policy he had paid one or two premiums on — and has used proceeds that were intended for rebuilding the public’s property into paying his rent instead. A Twin Towers Alliance Freedom of Information request (actually two) are pending to learn where else that money has gone. 

    Larry Silverstein’s pretensions that he is building a 21st-century Rockefeller Center are far-fetched for two reasons. First, Rockefeller Center is symmetrical and classic — obviously not a match. And above all because Rockefeller Center was built entirely with Rockefeller Family money on Rockefeller land. Mr. Silverstein, on the other hand, appears to be nothing but a squatter on what is 100% public property.