View Full Version : Larry Silverstein speaks again

February 9th, 2003, 04:33 AM
Daily News...

I have a vision for WTC site


A day long in coming to New York arrived last week, when the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and Port Authority chose two distinguished architectural firms to prepare a site plan for the World Trade Center. Finally, the rebuilding moves into high gear, and the stage is set for an agreement on a plan.

On July 24, 2001, I believed I had reached the pinnacle of my career when I signed 99-year leases to the World Trade Center's twin towers and Buildings 4 and 5. Six weeks later, on Sept. 11, we all watched in horror as planes slammed into the towers, killing thousands, among them four of my employees. Within days of those horrific events, I resolved to dedicate the next 10 years of my life and the resources of my organization to ensuring the WTC is rebuilt.

This is not my cause alone, of course. All New Yorkers - indeed, all Americans - are enlisted in this mission. We cannot let terrorists change our way of life or destroy the heart of our Financial District.

LMDC's appointment of Studio Daniel Libeskind and the Think Group promises to create a refreshing burst of renewed cooperation among the stakeholders in this mighty effort.

My professionals have met with the Think architects, and we expect to meet soon with the Libeskind architects. We anticipate a collegial relationship with both as we move to create a plan establishing where the memorial goes, which streets will be reinstituted, where the new transportation hub will be and which parcels will be devoted to commercial development.

What the final plan shows remains to be seen. But I believe that all agree the site must incorporate a significant, dignified 9/11 memorial. It also must be made part again of the city's fabric and enhance the vitality and quality of lower Manhattan life.

We are dedicated to building spectacular, architecturally distinguished buildings that are recognized the world over as landmarks and will incorporate the most advanced safety features available. The rebuilt WTC also must incorporate an iconic tower or towers that soar to the heavens and redefine the skyline.

The quality of the design and richness of materials and engineering concepts we are incorporating in the new 7World Trade Center and the reduction of the size of that building to accommodate the universal demand that Greenwich St. be reopened is tangible evidence of our commitment. Achieving this will require a careful balancing of vision and practicality. Neither alone will suffice to realize the dream we all have of gracefully replacing what was so horrifically destroyed.

Before 9/11, the WTC's 10 million square feet of office space and 450,000 square feet of retail space were at the core of lower Manhattan's economy. It is imperative that all the office space be replaced on the site to ensure that jobs stay here and our metropolitan region flourishes.

My interest in the redevelopment of lower Manhattan is unique. The PA estimated that our consortium paid $3.2 billion for our leaseholds, consisting of $600 million at the closing and many billions more in rent over the 99 years. The leases obligate us to continue to pay that rent, now $120 million a year, despite the complex's destruction. The leases give us the corresponding obligation and right to rebuild what was lost. We have continued since 9/11 to make rental payments and are committed to dedicating the proceeds of our insurance recovery, which will total $6.7 billion-plus, to rebuilding.

But at the same time, I have never insisted that our consortium's contract rights give us the unfettered right to build whatever we want.

To the contrary, we are dedicated to working in a cooperative spirit with the PA, LMDC and the city to see that the WTC is once again an engine for the creation of jobs in lower Manhattan. Everyone involved has a responsibility to make lower Manhattan a better place. We are committed to doing our part.

Silverstein is president of World Trade Center Properties.

(Edited by NYguy at 4:34 am on Feb. 9, 2003)

February 9th, 2003, 06:31 AM
This is a letter written by a man who's afraid of being ignored.

February 9th, 2003, 08:34 AM
Yes, and public relations damage control. His insurance case
will be a jury trial.

February 9th, 2003, 12:02 PM
you have to give him some credit, he did cut down on 7 wtc without much of a fight and lost office space there....his company is "losing" $328,767 per day on the lease, he said he is committed to building inspiring buildings and wants to restore at least 10 million feet of office space....not sure what the problem is with silverstein

February 9th, 2003, 12:09 PM
On the other hand, the smaller 7WTC will be completed earlier and he'll have fewer difficulties finding tenants.

In the case of Mr. Silverstein, time is an issue.

February 9th, 2003, 12:12 PM
He has plenty of room to build them. At least now the airports and cockpit doors are tightly secure, and knives and sharp metal objects are prohibited on passenger cabin luggage. So there is no prospect of a second hijacking anytime soon.

February 9th, 2003, 04:08 PM
Silverstein is eventually going to be forced into a compromise of the amount of office space and keeping bulding heights down. Will he settle for less space to keep it all under 50 floor or will he go higher?

February 9th, 2003, 10:20 PM
He sounds like he is desperate to soothe the public.
I wonder if his "professionals" ever run across this forum from time to time.

February 10th, 2003, 04:11 AM
Of course they do.
And they should listen to us very carefully.

February 12th, 2003, 08:40 AM
More on the Silverstein rollercoaster...(NY Post)



February 12, 2003 -- World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein yesterday criticized the signature elements of the two remaining Ground Zero site plans.

"I don't understand those latticework towers, how they would be utilized," Silverstein said of the THINK architecture team's plan, which calls for two steel structures taller than the original Twin Towers.

"The evacuation requirements would be massive."

At a meeting with The Post editorial board, Silverstein said he is very concerned about erecting buildings more than 60 stories tall - because it is difficult for people to evacuate them in an emergency.

The plan by the THINK group, including architects Rafael Vinoly and Fred Schwartz, centers on twin latticework structures that would be mostly empty except for cultural uses, such as museums, concert halls and memorial spaces.

While Silverstein would not be expected to build the towers, which would be incorporated into an overall Ground Zero memorial, he said he was uncomfortable with the idea of creating spaces for large numbers of people on the upper floors.

"When you have a ballroom in a hotel where do they put it? On the second floor, so they can get all the people out. Not on the 50th floor," he said.

Silverstein also criticized a plan by Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind, which calls for leaving much of the Ground Zero pit open as a space for a memorial.

The developer said executives at "a number of major financial institutions" have told him they would not want to rent office space looking down on the open pit.

"I can only assume they've said the same to [development officials]," he said.

He said the Libeskind scheme elicits extreme reactions from many people.

"There are some who've said we would be appalled at that. Then there are other people who've said it's impactful," he said.

In the hourlong meeting, the developer, who signed a 99-year lease on the WTC complex just weeks before it was destroyed, had little positive to say about either of the designs being considered by the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

The two agencies will choose a winner later this month.

"I probably could go with both," he said, when asked to indicate a preference. "In the last analysis, rational minds will prevail."

February 12th, 2003, 11:22 AM
While Silverstein would not be expected to build the towers, which would be incorporated into an overall Ground Zero memorial, he said he was uncomfortable with the idea of creating spaces for large numbers of people on the upper floors.

"When you have a ballroom in a hotel where do they put it? On the second floor, so they can get all the people out. Not on the 50th floor," he said.

This guy does need to be removed from the process...what he is saying is not only anti-NYC but anti-urban....he would be much happier in washington dc where the height restriction is 12 stories....hopefully he will be bought out

February 12th, 2003, 11:26 AM
Saying that he is anti-urban only shows your lack of understanding of what urbanism is. *Hugely tall buildings are anti-urban, while smaller buildings actually contribute to urban life. *History has proven this, and I would be very interested in hearing what makes an area filled with skyscrapers urban.

February 12th, 2003, 12:04 PM
Again with the safety issues - it must be the insurance. What's this magic number of 60 stories? And didn't he once say that 70 floors was the cut-off? If the engineers say they can make a safe 100 story building then why would he argue?

OKoranjes, it seems you don't really think there should be tall buildings at WTC, am I wrong? I can understand if someone thinks that not every building has to be the hugely tall, but this site is completely different. Height is an issue here for many New Yorkers who like their buildings tall, especially the replacements of the tallest in our city which were destroyed by criminals.

February 12th, 2003, 12:18 PM
They can distribute parachutes from the 61st floor on.

February 12th, 2003, 12:19 PM
I may need some expert help on this, but I'll take a stab at it.

I think what is anti-urban is sprawl: low density, segregated (not racial), and dependent upon the automobile. Houston and LA are examples.

I don't think Silverstein is anti-urban, just anti-skyscraper. Manhattan is a typical urban landscape. It has nothing to do with the size of the buldings. You could remove all vehicles, and it would still work. Pedestrian friendly, concentrated, integrated.

February 12th, 2003, 12:38 PM
Yes, but as soon as the buildings get too high they become oppressive and you feel as insignificant as an ant. Which is why there must be a balance and every place should look like Greenwich Village.

February 12th, 2003, 01:02 PM
I agree. I wouldn't want Manhattan to become an island of skyscrapers. The problem with the downtown skyline is that most buildings have grown higher to the same height. It looks like a cliff.

**For safety reasons, you would have to conduct parachute drills.

February 12th, 2003, 01:11 PM

Just because silverstein doesn't want to build the world's tallest building does not mean he's anti-skyscraper. *Listen to what you're saying.

He's a businessman and his business is skyscrapers. *There are safety issues he's concerned with, but the primary concern -- which he downplays -- is economic. *Real estate developers carefully calculate ratios of leasable space to construction costs, support spaces, and elevators. *The taller a building gets, the more resources are used up by the latter. *If he could build a 150 story building and make money off of it, he would.

That said, he has committed to 900-1000 ft of occupied height. *Add to that potential observatories, crowns, or whatever, and you have the potential for skyline-dominating towers.

As for skyscrapers being anti-urban, I don't think you can reach any conclusion one way or the other, especially with the increasing prevalence of mixed-use developments. *It depends on what kind of urbanity you're after.

February 12th, 2003, 01:19 PM
I was being absolutely sarcastic. I despise that kind of conformist thinking. If all of NY were like Greenwich Village it would be a bore. There is room for different degrees of urbanity, including extreme ones.

Silverstein's only ideology is financial, we all know that.

February 12th, 2003, 01:24 PM
I wasn't really addressing you, Christian. *I think I know sarcasm when I read it. ;)

February 12th, 2003, 01:52 PM
Quote: from Kris on 1:19 pm on Feb. 12, 2003
I was being absolutely sarcastic. I despise that kind of conformist thinking. If all of NY were like Greenwich Village it would be a bore.All of NY...that's different!

February 12th, 2003, 03:15 PM
As per Vinoly chat session:
The view of the city from above is a totally
essential part of the New York experience and we don't think that this should be the prerogative of the private office space or just another very expensive restaurant. Accessing the high levels of this structure to enjoy a panoramic view from a cultural space should be part of *the public domain. The cultural infrastructure of the city has now the chance to define its skyline.

Is an observation deck considered a public space, I would assume so....if silverstein is against this, he is crazy to think nykers would stand for it

February 12th, 2003, 04:42 PM
Silverstein is against the idea of a concert hall or similar structure on the upper stories of THINK's structure. *I'm with him on that one; It's just idiotic and there's no reason for it other than the "neato" factor. *When you factor in that they're probably going to have to invent some new form of evacuation system just to make the idea of a "concert hall in the sky" reasonably safe, the whole idea just becomes absurd (I propose a spiralling system of inflatable slides like the ones airplanes have). *I've said it before, it takes long enough to get out of a concert hall or theater that's located at street level.

I'm a staunch advocate of building something proud and soaring at the WTC site, and I have been from day one, but I'm going to have to resort to an argument so often used by opponents of development: *If THINK's WCC were built, it would be another tragedy waiting to happen. *Making that tragedy worse would be the fact that THERE IS NO GOOD REASON TO BUILD A THEATER HUNDREDS OF FEET IN THE SKY.

February 12th, 2003, 05:02 PM
I don't see how it is essentially different from office space, or any more absurd. The authorities are very pragmatic and would have rejected a senseless plan. Moreover, the program is not fixed.

February 12th, 2003, 06:28 PM
Silverstein's own obsession with disaster scenarios is what will put fear into any potential tenants he might get. *His words and actions seem to suggest that another attack on the WTC is imminent. *Why would anyone want to rent in such a place? * His contradicting statements or "soaring, iconic towers that redefine the skyline" and "no buildings above 60 stories" show that he is all over the place and has no idea of the direction redevelopment should take. *I think its past time he was removed from the redevelopment process. *New York deserves better.

February 12th, 2003, 06:41 PM
I can't put a logical argument to it, but I think he may be maneuvering to get himself out.

February 12th, 2003, 10:06 PM
If Silverstein leaves, that will leave the political patronage of the LMDC, Bloomberg and Pataki, and the likes of the mega-memorialists, all of which could work against Lower Manhattan. For all his faults, Silverstein at least wants to restore most of the office space on the site.

February 12th, 2003, 11:36 PM
Too many political cooks (or crooks) in this kitchen, doing their damndest to spoil the soup!

February 13th, 2003, 01:37 PM
I think I like the concert hall in the sky. That really would be "neato". If engineers say they can build it safe, then what's the problem? I only wish people could access more of our city's upper stories with dining and entertainment. Skyscraper views are one of New York's best assets. Some public venue in those latticework towers would be a uniquely New York experience.

February 13th, 2003, 04:08 PM
It seems feasible:


February 13th, 2003, 06:23 PM
One problem with a theater, symphony hall, ballet, or any other performance space is that it usually has no windows.
Therefore - there are zero reasons to stick them up that high, unless the decreased air pressure is somehow conducive to high art.

February 13th, 2003, 07:00 PM
Thank you!

February 13th, 2003, 07:23 PM
Antiquity... open-air... landscape as backdrop...

February 13th, 2003, 07:29 PM
modernity ... air-conditioning ... stage-lighting ...

February 13th, 2003, 07:33 PM
Prosaic... Just imagine the possibilities! It can be glass-enclosed, comfortable and versatile.

February 13th, 2003, 07:57 PM
I've got a couple more ideas for THINK's cultural towers:

- Helicopter landing pad

- Dirigible mooring mast

February 14th, 2003, 02:10 AM
Did you ever notice that everytime Silverstein is against something it suddenly becomes "unsafe"?

February 14th, 2003, 02:33 AM
Yea, I wonder why that is? *;)
It wouldn't be financial greed, would it?

February 14th, 2003, 09:03 AM
NY Post...


February 14, 2003 -- World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein told Mayor Bloomberg yesterday that a City Hall proposal to take over his insurance billions is unworkable, sources told The Post.

The private meeting with the mayor came as Silverstein, who signed a 99-year lease on the trade center just weeks before the Sept. 11 terror attack, is seeking a more visible role in the planning process.

The developer objected to a scenario laid out in the mayor’s vision for lower Manhattan that calls for the city to take control of the WTC site, buy out his interest and divert the billions in insurance money for downtown transportation and other projects.

Silverstein told the mayor his insurance policies and lease require all the money to go toward rebuilding the WTC office towers and shopping mall, the sources said.

Silverstein also insisted that he must rebuild all 10 million feet of office space that was destroyed.

The developer is in the midst of a bitter legal battle with the insurers who issued a $3.5 billion policy for the WTC, claiming he deserves to be paid nearly twice that amount.

Sources said the meeting with Bloomberg was “businesslike.”

The mayor’s Ground Zero scenario is far from becoming a reality any time soon, since it requires first transferring the site from the Port Authority. City Hall officials believe Silverstein’s objections could be overcome.

Silverstein also delivered a similar message to Gov. Pataki in a separate meeting yesterday.

“He outlined his effort to be cooperative and come up with a plan that everyone can agree upon,” said Silverstein’s spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, who called the meetings “positive.”

Meanwhile, relatives of 9/11 victims held separate meetings yesterday with Pataki and Port Authority planners.

Some relatives voiced opposition to PA plans to put a bus garage inside the Ground Zero pit.

February 14th, 2003, 09:17 AM

Rebuilding head optimistic that Silverstein will be on board

NEW YORK -- The head of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. said Thursday that World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein is cooperating with the rebuilding effort _ despite Silverstein's recent grumbling in the press.

Corporation Chairman John Whitehead said he is "much more optimistic" than he would be just from reading media accounts of Silverstein's dissatisfaction with the two designs for a rebuilt trade center chosen last week.

Silverstein told members of the New York Post's editorial board that he didn't understand the THINK team of architects' latticework towers, noting, "the evacuation requirements would be massive."

The developer also criticized Daniel Libeskind's plan, which would retain the foundations of the original towers as a memorial.

He said executives at "a number of major financial institutions" have told him they would not want to rent offices looking down on the open pit where the towers once stood.

Asked whether he expects Silverstein to be at his side when a final design for the site is announced at the end of this month, Whitehead said, "I can't predict that. I hope so."

The development corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land, have asked the two teams of architects to alter their plans to address engineering problems in the pit.

The New York Times reported Thursday that both the THINK team and Studio Daniel Libeskind have been asked to include space for parking, public transit and other purposes in the seven-acre pit.

Libeskind has been asked to raise the floor of his planned memorial area to roughly 25 feet below ground level, while the THINK team has been asked to reduce the height of its proposed latticework towers in order to alter the base of their frames.

At their meeting Thursday, the development corporation board members approved hiring consultants to help them implement the design competition for the memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack.

The agency hopes to choose a memorial design by next Sept. 11, the second anniversary of the attack.