View Full Version : Developer pushes to get another office tower at Ground Zero

May 19th, 2003, 11:34 PM
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - (KRT) - Developer Larry Silverstein is pushing to overhaul the official vision of Ground Zero so another office tower can be squeezed onto the site, sources said Monday.

Silverstein's back-room campaign began more than a week ago and ran into immediate opposition from some rebuilding officials, sources said.

Despite publicly supporting the Ground Zero plan created by architect Daniel Libeskind, Silverstein has refused to abandon a concept prepared for him last year by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, a rebuilding official said Monday.

"This is all about resurrecting the SOM plan," the official said.

Because Libeskind has never designed an office tower, it was assumed he would pair up with another architectural firm - perhaps Skidmore - to refine his plan and create specifications required for construction.

But Silverstein, who holds a 99-year lease on the twin towers site, angered some officials by proposing changes to the plan without consulting Libeskind.

Sources said Silverstein told officials he wanted to reduce the girth of the three towers Libeskind has proposed along Church Street to create room for an office building on the block.

As in the Skidmore plan, Silverstein's idea would place five office towers around Ground Zero.

The extra tower would stand above the proposed transit hub, but it would not increase the amount of office space at the site.

Rather, the current 10 million square feet would be redistributed among the extra tower, Libeskind's Church Street buildings and his proposed 1,776-foot tower at the site's north end.

Silverstein's spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, declined to discuss specifics. He said Silverstein is "working closely with Libeskind and the various authorities to come up with a final plan."

But Libeskind, through a spokeswoman, confirmed Silverstein's extra tower request.

"We are aware of Mr. Silverstein's desires," the spokeswoman said. "We are working with the Port Authority, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the city to create the best plan that we can for New Yorkers."

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority, which owns the site, have not endorsed Silverstein's extra tower idea.

One official dismissed the concept. But a source said it will be among the official rebuilding alternatives presented when the Libeskind plan undergoes an environmental review.

Silverstein has pledged to use insurance proceeds from the twin towers to construct Libeskind's 1,776-foot tower. But it remains unclear how much money Silverstein will get.

He says he is owed nearly $7 billion and is battling insurers over the payout


I was hoping he'd go higher to get all his space back on-site. Little did I think he'd want to slim down the towers and add another. Whatever happened to his big 40,000 sq. ft. floor plates?

(Edited by JMGarcia at 11:36 pm on May 19, 2003)

May 20th, 2003, 12:42 AM
Silverstein's own 70-floor height limit for Ground Zero is hindering him rather than helping him. Why can't he get over his hangup over safety concerns and raise the heights of his buildings to 100 floors already? IT'S RIDICULOUS.

May 20th, 2003, 06:05 AM
Well this sucks.

It has to be about the cost of insurance.

Putting a tower on top of the transit hub will destroy its drama.

NyC MaNiAc
May 20th, 2003, 08:16 AM
I alrready don't like the fact that there are 5 office towers and one does not really stand out...now another one might be added? Jeez...

May 20th, 2003, 08:24 AM
Quote: from Agglomeration on 12:42 am on May 20, 2003
Silverstein's own 70-floor height limit for Ground Zero is hindering him rather than helping him. Why can't he get over his hangup over safety concerns and raise the heights of his buildings to 100 floors already? IT'S RIDICULOUS.

That's true. *It's also interesting that Silverstein has never shown SOM's planning for the site. *But this would probably happen anyway if Silverstein doesn't get the Deutsche Bank building site to develop....

May 20th, 2003, 08:26 AM
Maybe Silverstein wants to go for all 9 towers SOM towers....



May 20th, 2003, 08:44 AM
Yeah maybe, but without the height. *Those buildings were each a 1000 feet or taller.

May 20th, 2003, 08:59 AM
Actually they werent, each tower was 945 feet.

May 20th, 2003, 09:06 AM
Where did you get that piece of info Stern?

May 20th, 2003, 09:18 AM
I do like his idea of reducing the girth of the buildings.

May 20th, 2003, 10:04 AM
The only thing that I think is good about this is that Silverstein is the only one not bowing to the pressure to make the Libeskind concept a "done deal".

His height limitations suck, but the spire in Libeskind's plan is a poor substitute for a tall building - and obviously restoring any skyline.

Maybe this bickering can help an alternative arise down the road.

May 20th, 2003, 10:31 AM
As long as Silverstein and his "private investors" (who are these people anyway) are part of the process I don't hold out much hope for the skyline.

Just look at this latest story. Silverstein had the easy choice of just raising heights which would be mostly welcomed, but no, he wants to cram another stubby building in.

Instead of focusing on a land swap with the city they should be focusing on buying Silverstein out of his lease.

May 20th, 2003, 11:10 AM
I smell a rat at SOM.

May 20th, 2003, 02:51 PM
Where did you get that piece of info Stern?

Architecture Record.

Larry show us what you boys got planned already, you little sneak.... Hesitating only proves if its something not likely to be well recieved, acceptable for that matter.

May 20th, 2003, 03:48 PM
Judging by SOM's admittedly conceptual "herd mentality" entry into the "design study" I'd say it has a very small memorial area and lots of towers around the same height, probably without so much as even an attempt at a standout "skyline element".

I seriously doubt that Silverstein really wants to pay for a "skyline element" and even if SOM (Childs) thought of one I'm sure they would cut it in a heartbeat if Silverstein so much as looked sideways at it. Bah!


May 20th, 2003, 08:35 PM
the pictures in the daily news appear to show the tower that is attached to the garden tower as much shorter in Silverstein's plan. Anyone else notice this? those pics are not on their website
im saying it looks about 200-300 ft shorter, in fact all the rest of the buildings look to be about 100-200 ft shorter!!!!! im hoping this was a mistake in the rendering since the article did not mention lowering the heights, i mean how can he have the same 10 mil sq ft after lowering the heights and making them so much slimmer, even with another tower its just too narrow to make up for it and all add up to 10 mil
Did anyone else actually see the paper version of the daily news today?

May 20th, 2003, 08:38 PM
let me explain again, there were two pics in the paper, a comparison of the plan as it is now and this new silverstein version, they are both the same aerial pic of the site with the garden tower in the same spot and is the same height in both pics, every other building looks obviously much much shorter in the 2nd pic

May 20th, 2003, 09:01 PM
Does it look like a new rendering or a modification of an existing rendering? Better yet, got a scanner? ;)

May 20th, 2003, 09:03 PM
If this is so, please scan the rendering Yanni...


May 20th, 2003, 09:54 PM
It's obviously done by the Daily News and is nothing official.


Libeskind does have a plan that gets all 10 million sq. ft. on site by raising each tower by 5 floors. It's the official option 2:

Option Two:
TOTAL 10.00 million SF office onsite
880,000 SF retail onsite
(400,000 SF above ground, 480,000 SF below ground)

Tower 1 (with antenna at 1,776 feet)
2.60 million SF office
70 floors, 30,000-40,000 SF footprint
70,000 SF retail
Performing Arts Center 45,000 SF footprint (2,000 seats)

Tower 2
2.50 million SF office
70 floors, 27,500-39,000 SF footprint
60,000 SF retail
360,000 SF hotel (20 stories, 800 rooms)

Tower 3
2.60 million SF office
65 floors, 28,000-55,000 SF footprint
135,000 SF retail

Tower 4
2.30 million SF office
60 floors, 26,000-54,000 SF footprint
132,000 SF retail

Offsite Tower 5
1.00 million SF residential
50 floors, 30,000 SF footprint
280,000 380,000 SF museum/culture

May 20th, 2003, 10:31 PM
Does this screw up the "Wedge of Light?"

May 20th, 2003, 11:54 PM

It magically removes all shadows with the extra reflection from the 5th tower. ;)

May 21st, 2003, 01:49 PM
I agree that putting a building above the transit center is a bad idea. *Look at the current Penn station/MSG - a complete mess and not much to look at.

TLOZ Link5
May 21st, 2003, 04:35 PM
Quote: from BrooklynRider on 9:18 am on May 20, 2003
I do like his idea of reducing the girth of the buildings.

The rendering in yesterday's Daily News showed all of the towers except for the Garden Tower as being substantially shorter, also.

May 21st, 2003, 05:13 PM
Let's just hope the greedy old fart croaks losing his trial.

NyC MaNiAc
May 21st, 2003, 08:39 PM
LoL...strong words. I sense this to be very bad. I think there are too many towers on the site already, which takes away from the overall design. To add another building would be murder...

May 22nd, 2003, 04:33 AM
Rather, the current 10 million square feet would be redistributed among the extra tower, Libeskind's Church Street buildings and his proposed 1,776-foot tower at the site's north end.

Is this for real ?
Maybe the tall tower won't be an empty shell after all.

May 22nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
All of it is meaningless. *These pronouncements and press releases all seem to divert attention from the factthat NOTHING is happening at the site. *I can't get excited one way or the other about all of these competing visions and alternatives. *Start building something, ANYTHING, then it all means something. *

May 22nd, 2003, 12:33 PM
That PATH station is under construction and needs to be finished first as the memorial area will rest on top of it.

May 22nd, 2003, 01:08 PM
All of it is meaningless. *These pronouncements and press releases all seem to divert attention from the factthat NOTHING is happening at the site.

But there are numerous workers and much activity at the site. Are they all working on the PATH station ?

May 22nd, 2003, 01:20 PM
They're also working on infrastructure such as water and electrical lines.

May 23rd, 2003, 02:31 PM
The Verizon Bldg still undergoing repairs, as it awaits construction of 2 new neighbors....


Libeskind's 1,776 ft spire will tower over New York from this point...



The rest of the buildings that now frame ground zero...




May 23rd, 2003, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the picture's with the insightful captions; they're great.

NyC MaNiAc
May 24th, 2003, 12:51 AM
Yeah, I am really getting excited. I can feel it.

I've said it a couple times, but we really should not be complaining. From getting nothing, to getting THE WORLD'S TALLEST BUILDING...that's a big leap, so I feel we should start appreciating what we are getting.

Does anyone agree?

May 24th, 2003, 07:31 AM
I do.
Besides, I'm tired of complaining and being disappointed. That's exhausting, really.

Sometimes, when I picture what's likely to be built, I think : it's not all bad...

May 24th, 2003, 10:14 AM
I think more people will become excited when we finally see an exact rendering. *I'm confident the final design will be nicer than what some people are expecting. *But I can hardly wait til the "freedome tower" gets underway. *It will be great to watch it rise.

James Kovata
May 24th, 2003, 12:51 PM
I'm not even a New Yorker (although I visit many times during the year) and I'm excited about seeing the world's tallest rise in downtown. *

May 25th, 2003, 01:13 AM

WTC Rebuilding Continues

By Katia Hetter
May 24, 2003

A year after workers finished the cleanup at the World Trade Center site, the rebuilding of Ground Zero has picked up an architect, official support from political leaders, much momentum as well as some delays in insurance payouts and hopes that some office buildings along the perimeter may reopen.

The ceremony that removed the last steel beams from the Twin Towers site a year ago has given way to the addition of more steel for projects from a temporary PATH train station reopening later this year to construction of a new 7 World Trade Center.

Other developments include:

-Deutsche Bank will soon complete a structural evaluation of its shrouded building at 130 Liberty St., using results to decide whether to renovate or raze the 39-story office structure. The company and its insurers are "close to reaching a decision," said a person familiar with the negotiations, who declined to be named.

-At the landmark Verizon building at 140 West St., the telephone company is reconstructing the damaged eastern wall, fixing gashes in the southern wall and replacing damaged ventilation and telephone equipment despite no insurer's approval.

Redevelopment officials can list many other accomplishments in lower Manhattan from the speedy cleanup and the reconstruction of the 1/9 subway lines and the reopening of the Millenium Hilton Hotel on Church Street to the selection of architect Daniel Libeskind's designs.

Yet Deutsche Bank and a few other damaged and dusty buildings remain as constant reminders of Sept. 11. While some large building owners say their insurance claims are complicated, and cite progress in negotiations with insurers, some smaller residential building and business owners say they still are having difficulty getting money from their policies.

"Physically we saw an immediate recovery from Sept. 11 that was far, far faster than anyone really thought possible. . .," said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "That visible pace was in many respects unsustainable ... and a lot of the reaction and distress over the last six months has been because that pace wasn't sustained."

Residents and smaller companies are having trouble getting their insurance money, according to a recent report by Ground Zero area City Council member Alan Gerson. One such resident is management consultant David Stanke, who says his family's apartment at 114 Liberty St. still hasn't been thoroughly cleaned.

"We walk them through the building and discuss what needs to be done, they spend time working on an estimate that is incomplete and underpriced and difficult to track back to actual project specifications," said Stanke, who lives with his wife and four children in a rental apartment in Battery Park City.

Dr. Cathy Carron, who practices at the American Stock Exchange, said her insurer paid for 12 days of business-interruption insurance, because she returned to the building to help reopen the exchange after Sept. 11. With 20 percent of her patients killed in the attacks and her business down 80 percent, she says she should have been covered until January, when the "frozen zone" status in her neighborhood was lifted and her remaining private patients could visit her again.

The State Insurance Department has only a few 9/11-related cases remaining, according to spokeswoman Joanna Rose, but she encouraged anyone with insurance complaints to call the department's consumer hotline at 800-342-3736.

There are signs of hope, however, at Verizon, as corporate real-estate manager George Famulare estimates the company will start returning workers to the site in November. "Many people have, as I do, mixed emotions about bringing people back, but I'm looking forward to it," said Famulare. "When people come back, it's going to be very emotional."

May 25th, 2003, 04:51 AM
With a little more work, Libeskind's tower should look great as it soars above Downtown...




NyC MaNiAc
May 26th, 2003, 01:46 AM
Yes. NYC will be getting the World's Tallest Building again, for the first time since 1973!

I think we all deserve it! :)

May 28th, 2003, 11:41 AM
the more i think about Libeskind's tower the more idiotic it seems. just who besides the tax payer is going to pay for building a silly sky garden and just who is going believe it is the WTB? that title will go to the beautiful Shanghai World Financial Center at 492 meters when construction is finished in 2007.

May 28th, 2003, 12:23 PM
A sky garden ?
You're misinformed. The sky garden is gone. Now, it's the Freedom tower.
I bet there'll be a compromise and that tower will ultimately contain some office space. Or something ready to be converted into office space anytime.

May 29th, 2003, 06:01 AM
ooops thanks for the update. well that is good news at least so maybe all is not lost. i have searched this forum and the web but i can't find details of the new design without the sky garden any help appreciated ...

May 29th, 2003, 06:52 AM
The exterior design is pretty much the same.
But the trees inside are gone and the name was changed.

May 29th, 2003, 02:11 PM
Additionally, the new design now calls for an antenna and broadcasting equipment on the upper floors, as well as an observation deck and a restaurant.

May 29th, 2003, 03:25 PM
I think that the restaurant and the observation deck were already part of the tower.
The restaurant was supposed to be at the pretended 110th floor.