Skip to comments.SQUABBLING GROUND ZERO DOLTS DESERVE EACH OTHER
Posted on 03/16/2006 6:15:18 AM PST by finnman69
March 16, 2006 -- OSAMA bin Laden must be laughing in his cave. Just when we should be looking forward to spring, the city is instead being drenched in a mud bath between Larry Silverstein and the unholy trinity of Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and the Port Authority, over issues that ought to have been worked out four years ago.
If Silverstein really doesn't have the dough to build all five office towers, as his foes claim, and if he's going to default and leave us in the lurch, why did it take until now to figure that out?
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
Everything he put his hands on turned to crap. The long list includes: -the initial competitions -the pushing of the Liebskind plan which does not work) -the political/design infighting between David Childs of SOM and Liebskind -the cost overruns for the memorial -the remaining damaged buildings which still stand (Deutsche Bank/Fiterman Hall) -the scrapping of the first Freedom Tower design(it did not work) -the PAs insistance that afte 4-1/2 years, they have the nerve to insist they can build faster although 7 WTC is up anc completed. -the current round of bad publicity.
Embarassing, incompetent, outrageous. Pataki's legacy will be disaster the Ground Zero site has become.
No money? Didn't Silverstein get double the amount of the insurance money due to a double indemnity clause in the policy? I know it went to court, however I can't recall the outcome.
Oh please, not this "legacy" tripe again. I`ve had enough hearing about legacy when Clinton was in power.
Let the NYFD decide what's best at ground zero.
More here, it's gotten really ugly. The politics stink to high heaven. When you hear more from the politicians you know its a bad bad sign for a development.
GOV BLASTS WTC 'TRAITOR'
March 16, 2006 -- The effort to rebuild Ground Zero was in shambles yesterday as a furious Gov. Pataki charged that developer Larry Silverstein has "betrayed the public's trust" and turned unpatriotically greedy by demanding unconscionable sums to renegotiate his rights to the World Trade Center site.
"We cannot and will not allow profit margins and financial interests to be put ahead of public interest in expediting the rebuilding of the site of the greatest tragedy on American soil," the governor declared in an extraordinarily harsh statement against his one-time ally.
"[Silverstein] has betrayed the public's trust and that of all New Yorkers.
"Larry Silverstein . . . must honor his commitment and finally put the interests of our nation ahead of his own financial interests."
WTC Site Development Talks Break Down
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- State officials walked away from negotiations with the private developer of the World Trade Center site on Wednesday, accusing him of putting greed over the rebuilding of ground zero.
The impasse with Larry Silverstein, who officials say doesn't have the money to finish the project without the government's help, raised questions about his entire rebuilding schedule, including a groundbreaking next month for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower.
Charles Gargano, vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site, said the agency expects Silverstein to begin building the Freedom Tower in April. ``If he does not, then we want him to move out of the way,'' he said.
Silverstein, speaking Wednesday afternoon, said he was shocked by the breakdown in negotiations because he felt they were making progress.
``It is inexcusable that the Port Authority abruptly abandoned the talks (Tuesday) night without a plan to move forward,'' Silverstein said at a news conference. ``We are not sure where this leaves us now.''
Silverstein said he was still prepared for an April groundbreaking on the Freedom Tower _ provided he receives more than $3 billion in bonds from the state and city. Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg put a hold on the bonds pending a resolution of the negotiations.
Pataki had given the two sides until Tuesday to work out their differences.
Silverstein has become a lightning rod for criticism about the rebuilding of ground zero amid complaints from city and state officials that he could run out of money before finishing the job. Silverstein wants to build five towers at the trade center site, but officials fear he will be out of money after building one or two.
Port Authority officials and Pataki said Silverstein had put his own interests ahead of the public's and presented an unacceptable offer 20 minutes before a midnight Tuesday deadline.
Pataki, who has sought to make rebuilding ground zero the centerpiece of his legacy in his last year of office, said that Silverstein's development company ``has betrayed the public's trust and that of all New Yorkers.''
Kenneth Ringler, executive director of the Port Authority, said that talks with Silverstein had been ``terminated'' and wouldn't resume, although he said he would look at future reasonable proposals.
``We're not going to sit down with them,'' Ringler said. ``We're not going to be held hostage at this site.''
Port Authority officials said that after three months of negotiations of Silverstein's $3.2 billion lease, they had offered to take over construction of the Freedom Tower, seen as one of the least lucrative towers to rent because of its potential as a terrorist target and its distance from a mass transit hub.
But Silverstein had asked for too many concessions in rent, insurance proceeds and for a percentage of the bonds meant for the site, officials said.
Silverstein must continue to pay $10 million a month in rent and continue to rebuild to avoid defaulting on his 99-year lease. The lease does not specify which towers he should plan to build first.
Silverstein leased the twin towers six weeks before they were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Charges Of Greed Surface Following Breakdown Of WTC Talks
State officials are charging that greed on the part of developer Larry Silverstein is responsible for the breakdown in talks over the future of the World Trade Center site just minutes before a midnight deadline Tuesday.
Silverstein, who owned the lease on the Twin Towers at the time of the 9/11 attacks, and the Port Authority, which owns the land in Lower Manhattan, were unable to reach an agreement over how to divide their roles in the re-development of the site, reaching an impasse just minutes before the deadline imposed by Governor George Pataki.
According to the Empire State Development Corporation, Silverstein came to the table with a last-minute offer that was both unexpected and unacceptable. With a half hour left to negotiate, the developer reportedly asked the agency to essentially contribute $1 billion more to the project than previously expected.
Silverstein maintains the late proposal was consistent with what he had previously put on the table. He added he was shocked when the Port Authority pulled out of the talks, and denied he is motivated by greed.
We looked at each other and tried to find what caused this, and I must tell you, to this moment, I still dont know, Silverstein said Wednesday.
The Port Authority called Silversteins last-minute proposal outrageous.
March 16, 2006
Developer Told to Build 9/11 Site or Stand Clear
One day after critical talks on the rebuilding effort at ground zero collapsed, the Pataki administration said yesterday that it would not reopen negotiations with the developer Larry A. Silverstein. It challenged him to start building the $2.3 billion Freedom Tower next month or "move out of the way."
The challenge came 12 hours after the abrupt breakdown of talks that had sought to resolve issues hindering the development of ground zero, where the sputtering efforts to develop the site of the Sept. 11 attack have become a glaring embarrassment for the city and state.
Facing a self-imposed midnight deadline, advisers to Gov. George E. Pataki negotiated for nearly 16 hours Tuesday trying to reach a deal in which Mr. Silverstein, who holds the lease for the site, would surrender control of the Freedom Tower and a second building to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the site's owner. That would have paved the way for an April groundbreaking for the Freedom Tower, the largest and most symbolic of five skyscrapers planned for the site.
The failure of the talks is just the latest problem to arise over plans to rebuild the World Trade Center site, from the fight over the original design to the dispute over a planned cultural center to fund-raising problems for a memorial, as well as continuing doubts of some critics as to whether the Freedom Tower is even a good idea.
At the center of it all is Mr. Silverstein, who, despite responding yesterday that he would still begin building next month, has not convinced many of the key players that he has the wherewithal to get the Freedom Tower built.
The talks were seen as a final effort to resolve lingering disputes about the site's fate. Governor Pataki wants work to begin soon at ground zero so his legacy is not clouded as he leaves office and considers a presidential run. The Port Authority believes Mr. Silverstein does not have the financial resources to complete work on all five towers. And Mr. Silverstein, as the site's leaseholder, holds many of the cards, and is seeking financial concessions in return for giving up control of the entire site.
Stalled Talks Are More Bad News for Pataki
ALBANY, March 15 When talks on how to rebuild the World Trade Center site foundered Tuesday night without an agreement, it was more bad news for Gov. George E. Pataki. The governor has made the rebuilding of the site a legacy issue, only to see construction there stymied by delay after delay as his final term in office winds down.
But the breakdown in negotiations may prove more damaging for the site's developer, Larry A. Silverstein, whose demands at the bargaining table infuriated a governor who had stuck with him through much of the contentious rebuilding process. And by antagonizing the governor, Mr. Silverstein may have lost his most powerful ally.
New York City officials have long grumbled that Mr. Silverstein who leased the World Trade Center six weeks before it was destroyed was given such a prominent role in deciding what gets built on the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg even spoke of wresting control of the site from Mr. Silverstein.
Governor Pataki, though, stayed in Mr. Silverstein's corner. Until now.
After talks on the site broke down on Tuesday night, the Pataki administration went on the attack, portraying Mr. Silverstein as a greedy developer.
Governor Pataki accused Mr. Silverstein's company of betraying the public trust. "We cannot and will not allow profit margins and financial interests to be put ahead of public interest in expediting the rebuilding of the site of the greatest tragedy on American soil," Mr. Pataki said in a statement.
Senior Pataki administration officials said they were exploring their options once more to see if it would be possible to take the entire project out of Mr. Silverstein's hands Mr. Silverstein has made it clear that he does not intend to remove himself.
It was quite a rupture in a relationship that Mr. Silverstein had taken pains to cultivate, with Mr. Pataki often responding in kind. Mr. Silverstein recently hired Michael McKeon, Governor Pataki's former spokesman, as a consultant, adding him to a team that already included William Plunkett, the lawyer whose firm once employed both Mr. Pataki and Mr. Pataki's chief of staff, John P. Cahill, who now oversees Lower Manhattan redevelopment.
Mr. Silverstein said that he was perplexed by the breakdown in talks, as he had felt that they were making progress, and added that he had been saddened by the governor's statement about him. "I have tremendous respect for the man," he said.
Janno N. Lieber, a senior vice president at Silverstein Properties, said that Mr. Silverstein tried to call Governor Pataki on Wednesday to ask the governor to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. He did not get through, he said.
Pataki administration officials said that Mr. Silverstein might have miscalculated by gambling that Mr. Pataki's desire to get results on the project before he leaves office was so great that he would agree to terms that were less favorable to the state. In his statement, the governor said, "Our ardent desire to move forward expeditiously must not be used as leverage by Larry Silverstein for his financial demands."
But the glacial pace of rebuilding four and a half years have passed with little visible progress has become an embarrassment for the administration.
It has been more than 20 months since Governor Pataki laid the cornerstone on July 4, 2004, and declared, "Today we build the Freedom Tower." But the tower is not exactly rising skyward.
Last year the tower had to be redesigned after the New York Police Department raised security concerns about its initial design. That led to some finger-pointing between the city and state over the delay, and raised questions about why security concerns for a building at such a critical location had not been central all along.
Charles A. Gargano, the governor's top economic development official, said on Wednesday that if Mr. Silverstein did not begin construction of the Freedom Tower in April, then "we want him to move out of the way." In effect, he is trying to force Mr. Silverstein to begin building what may be the least economically desirable tower of the project, which some of his aides concede could be difficult to lease because of its size, its distance from public transportation and the fear that it could become a target.
The stumbling rebuilding process is, in a way, unsurprising. The site is owned by the Port Authority, which answers not only to New York, but also to New Jersey. The site was also privatized, giving Mr. Silverstein a say. It is has become a national symbol, but one of vital economic importance to New York City and New York State, which have competing visions of how it should be developed.
The complexities are evident. Under one proposal discussed before talks broke off, the Port Authority would have built the Freedom Tower instead of Mr. Silverstein. Such a proposal would mark quite a turnaround for Mr. Pataki, who came in to office trying to get the Port Authority out of the real estate business, and one who called on the Port Authority to sell the World Trade Center in his 1996 State of the State address.
David W. Dunlap contributed reporting for this article.
Well what I think the problem is, is that liberals want to build a giant surrender tower or a giant trophy/museum praising Al Qaedas accomplishemnt, and that is causing some problems as rational people really do not want to do this no matter how many liberal politicians/RINO`s demand it.
It always cracks me up when I hear the left complaining we aren't rebuilding Iraq quickly enough. They can't even rebuild the World Trade Center. And it's been 4.5 years.
The World Trade Center never should have been built in the first place (it was basically a huge white elephant financed through a quasi-public agency), so it should come as no surprise that the rebuilding process has broken down through a combination of political controversy, classic New York City narcissistic Marxism, etc.
I think it would be fitting if the Feds used eminent domain to seize the property and turn it into a national memorial.
Thanks! I couldn't remember the details.
I agree, two planes = two events.
It didn't say no money. It sounds like there's questions of if there's enough money to rebuild it all when most of the politicians in New York State keep causing delays by trying to act like they're helping.
There's nothing like the level of bureaucracy of New York to drive up costs and make things unprofitable.
Don't forget the corrupt labor/trade unions in NYC. :)
Silverstein won part of the insurance in a second trial
Cost estimates for rebuilding the WTC site range from $10 to $12 billion. This was a major motivation behind Larry Silverstein's ongoing insurance trial. During the court proceedings, he insisted that the collapse of the Twin Towers were two separate attacks, thus entitling him to $6.8 billion, double the payment he made when he bought insurance for the complex in July 2001. His insurers disagreed, saying that the attacks were a single event, entitling Silverstein to half that amount. Silverstein was defeated in a court trial where the jury found most of the insurers limited to a single payout. With this verdict, which was read in May 2004, Silverstein lost $2.4 billion in insurance money. The dispute over $1.1 billion held by the remaining insurance companies was resolved by a jury in December 2004, when it was decided that the September 11, 2001 attacks constituted two separate attacks.
Currently, the World Trade Center site is accessible by subway and Port Authority Trans-Hudson|PATH trains at the newand temporaryWorld Trade Center station. Much to some survivors' and victims' families' chagrin, the new PATH station uses the same track alignment as the old, meaning that the tracks pass through the south tower's footprint.  It is unlikely this will change when the permanent PATH World Trade Center station is completed.
I'm a bit behind the curve on this. Do you know if a final design/rendering for the site been settled up or published?
Oops, up = upon. My apologies.
Wouldn't that be poetic justice. We see land seized for developers to build condos. In this case it would be a case of historical significance.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.