The Real Deal recently scored an interview with Santiago Calatrava, the so-called "symphonist of steel" behind the upcoming (and wildly over budget) World Trade Center Transit Hub, and the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. In the interview, Calatrava explained how New York City's building code impacted the two projects’ designs, offers his thoughts on the World Trade Center master plan, and comments on the construction quality of the Transit Hub. Overall, the controversial architect lavishes praise on just about everyone—from Daniel Libeskind to Larry Silverstein to the Port Authority.
Posts tagged with "Larry Silverstein":
It's been one year since we began walking the circumference of the World Trade Center site and taking photos of the progress. A lot can happen in a year. The city and state are in a tussle over the Memorial Museum bringing construction there to a halt. Larry Silverstein has threatened to cap Tower Three at at seven stories instead of 80 if he doesn't get a lead tenant by the end of the year. Pat Foye, the new head of the Port Authority has called the PA's Trade Center focus a "mission drift" and ordered a special committee to audit the years overseen by his predecessor, Chris Ward. And now The New York Post reports that the underground loading dock for One World Trade won't be completed by the time the first tenants move in. News from the last couple of months has been so bad that we thought we'd sift through some of our old photos to focus on the work that was completed over the past year. And while One World Trade continues its march upward (it's nearing the 1,776 feet), other projects on or near the site are almost complete or are on schedule to be finished in the next couple of years. Brookfield's renovations of the World Financial Center have begun. Work at Fulton Street Transit Station by Grimshaw continues to chug forward. CUNY's Fiterman Hall by Pei Cobb Freed was recently capped. And a new visitors center for the memorial opened on West Street.
That's how much the Port Authority owes developer Larry Silverstein, after an arbitration panel's ruling yesterday, which Silverstein Properties announced in a press release today. The developer had been seeking monetary damages and reduced rents because, Silverstein argued, the PA had delayed in turning over the sites of Tower 2 and Tower 3, also known as 200 and 175 Greenwich, designed, respectively, by Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. The arbitrators, who Silverstein tapped in July, found this not to be the case, though it is not entirely clear why as their decision has not been publicly released. The fate of those towers, and the financing Silverstein has been all but demanding from the PA, remains an open question, but the one victory the developer did win was a reprieve from a 2014 deadline to finish all three buildings, lest control of them revert to the PA. Now, the two have 45 days to work out a new deadline, which could also take pressure off Silverstein to demand financing for buildings some analysts say there will be no demand for for decades. Given the panel's unfavorable decision for him, the fiery Silverstein was surprisingly conciliatory in his statement. “I greatly appreciate the hard work and professionalism of the members of the arbitration panel. They did a huge amount of work in a very compressed timeframe," he said. In its own release, the PA thanked the arbitrators for "issuing a responsible decision that protects public resources while creating a positive environment in which the visible, daily progress on the site can continue moving forward." UPDATE: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in his own statement, hits the nail on the head: “As expected, the arbitration has not resulted in a resolution. But one thing is clear from the ruling: there is a deal to be made. This is a critical moment to move forward with the long-term development of the site. The parties cannot let it pass without progress.” And the Times reports that Silverstein was requesting $2.75 billion—yes, that's billion—in damages, an amount that likely would have gone a long way toward drumming up financing for the other towers.
With the news today, reported by The Observer, that Larry Silverstein has begun legal proceedings against the Port Authority to end the gridlock at Ground Zero, as well as the developments two weeks prior at Atlantic Yards, it seems obvious to us what's going on here. Having witnessed the financial titans across town receive hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money, these developers now want theirs. Granted, so did Larry Flint and the porn industry, but the comparison bears consideration. To begin with, the market has failed for both finance and real estate--to say nothing of every other industry--leaving "free market" options closed. Where the bankers have turned to the Treasury and the federal government, Silverstein and Bruce Ratner, in one form or another, have turned to local pols. At Ground Zero, Silverstein is having difficulty finding financing for Towers 2 and 3, so he wants the Port Authority to provide it, or at least back it, on those projects. The story at Atlantic Yards has been much the same, with Ratner unable to afford the full amount for the Vanderbilt Yards nor go through a complete public review process for a new general project plan to ensure there is time to qualify for already dubious tax-exempt bonds. In both cases, public agencies that are already hard up for cash have been asked to foot the bill or undersign considerable amounts of risk to ensure projects with uncertain futures go forward. In the case of Atlantic Yards, the MTA and ESDC have already rolled over. It remains to be seen whether the Port Authority will cave to the abiding political and now legal pressures surrounding the Ground Zero deal. It would not be surprising if the authority did, though, given the examples set in Brooklyn and Washington.