After a sixteen-month stalemate, government authorities and developer Larry A. Silverstein have reached an agreement on the construction of two new skyscrapers at the ground zero site, which together will cost up to $1.6 billion. The Port Authority will provide about $1 billion of the funding necessary for the first tower, a 64-story building set for completion in 2013. As for the second building, if Silverstein can raise $300 million and secure the necessary leases, he will then receive an additional $600 million from the state, city, and Port Authority for that building. If he can’t scrounge up the money, though, then he will construct a simpler five-story building on the site (also by 2013) and, erm, figure out how to build a tower there later.
In return for the government funding, Silverstein will have to share profits for the first building, should it be successful, with the city.
“Today’s agreement between my company and the Port Authority will accelerate the rebuilding of the World Trade Center,” Silverstein said in a statement. “This is great news for New York.”
Of course, not everyone thinks the generous funding for the two towers, which will primarily be used for office space, is such “great news.”
“I’m glad the stalemate appears to be over, but I’m not convinced that this is the best deal for the city,” said Jonathan Bowles, director of the nonpartisan research firm Center for an Urban Future. “It’s far from clear to me that public money should be used to build two office towers. If the market does not support these buildings, why should government step in?”
The parties involved will have 120 days to negotiate the details of the deal.