View Poll Results: Construction is underway, how do you feel about the final design for the WTC site?

Voters
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  • I am more than satisfied; I believe that the final design surpasses that of the original World Trade Center. 10/10

    50 26.04%
  • While nothing may ever live up to the Twin Towers, I am wholly satisfied with the new World Trade Center; it is a new symbol for a new era. 7/10

    55 28.65%
  • I have come to terms with the new World Trade Center; although it has a number of flaws, I find the design to be acceptable. 5/10

    48 25.00%
  • I am wholly disappointed with the New World Trade Center; we will live to regret the final design. 0/10

    22 11.46%
  • I am biased, but honest, and hate anything that is not a reincarnation of the original Twin Towers.

    17 8.85%
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Thread: World Trade Center Developments

  1. #4516

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    The Perils of Public-Private

    By Eliot Brown
    May 12, 2009 | 6:03 p.m


    Mayor Bloomberg has called a summit at Gracie Mansion this week on the World Trade Center impasse.

    Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Paterson, the Port Authority, developer Larry Silverstein and a list of other top officials are slated to convene in a summit at Gracie Mansion this week to discuss a familiar subject. As done after Sept. 11, 2001, and then again in 2006, the redevelopment of the World Trade Center is being renegotiated, this time with Mr. Silverstein seeking public sector financing to help build two of his three planned office towers at the site.

    Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority are at an impasse—one that is being driven by the inability to privately finance office towers in an inclement economy, and one that, if unresolved, threatens to derail numerous components of the site given its interdependent physical structure.

    The imbroglio downtown brings into glaring view a flaw common to public-private development deals in New York, a city where progress on large-scale projects so often proves elusive. Struck in strong economic times under aggressive assumptions, agreements on large government-administrated developments almost inevitably falter when the economy shifts, causing private developers to petition the public sector for new concessions or subsidies to keep the deals alive. The result is a system in which large projects seem to rarely provide the public with the value initially advertised, at least not within the time frame once imagined.

    While the World Trade Center is by all measures an extreme example, with a host of other factors contributing to the mess, this pattern appears again and again in a glance at some of the city’s largest real estate projects on public land in recent years.

    In Brooklyn, at the imperiled $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, developer Forest City Ratner is negotiating with a host of agencies to delay or decrease its hundreds of millions in obligations to the public sector, as the viability of the project is now threatened. In February, the economic crisis led the Related Companies to delay signing a contract for a planned $15 billion development on the West Side rail yards, pushing off the start of what would ultimately be about $1 billion in rent payments to the M.T.A., which owns the property. The Yankees and the Mets received approval for additional tax-free bonds in January to finish their new stadiums, which had risen in cost.

    And, looking further back, it took more than a decade to ultimately approve and build the Time Warner Center on the former Coliseum site, as the original designated developer, Boston Properties, repeatedly tried to renegotiate its contract amid a downturn.

    Certainly, much of the tendency to renegotiate is owed to an inherently sluggish structure on the public sector side. The deals are often launched when the economy is strong; bidding documents take months to prepare; environmental review and approvals can take years. Restrictions and requirements are tacked on throughout what is often a heavily political process, so by the time a developer is nearly ready to build, the margins can be thinner and the economy may well have turned sour.

    Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said his agency has numerous projects in the pipeline that developers have come back to renegotiate in recent months.

    “The first thing we hear is, ‘We want to still be the developer of the project, but we can’t do it when we promised, and we can’t do it for the amount of money we promised,’” he said.

    In response, the city’s position, Mr. Pinsky said, has generally been an openness to spreading out a developer’s obligations over a longer period of time, but not decreasing the amount the developer ultimately owes.

    “Everyone likes the idea of someone else paying for a project, and therefore in the general public, public-private partnerships have gotten a fairly good reputation,” he said. “But when you’re not spending the money and you’re relying on a partner, it’s inevitable that you give up a certain amount of leverage.

    Mr. Pinsky said the city tends to structure its deals to require significant investment up front, giving the city leverage and making it expensive for a developer to abandon a project when the environment changes.

    “We’re still moving projects forward,” he said. “It’s so costly for these developers to back out of the deals, they have an incentive to negotiate with us.”

    THE CASE OF the World Trade Center is an extraordinary one that is far more complex than the typical deal undertaken by the state or the city. Not only was the economic structure of the agreement built on highly aggressive assumptions—about 7 million square feet of office space, including two towers with no tenants at all, was slated to hit the downtown market at the same time—but the physical structure of the deal is proving highly problematic as well. (Silverstein Properties has put much of the blame for its financing troubles on the Port Authority’s delays at the site, though lending has been tight for well over a year.)

    From 80 feet underground to the first few floors of the towers, the Port Authority and Mr. Silverstein are dependent upon each other for completing the project. And if they do not, the entire 16-acre site could cease to function as planned, as common infrastructure like an underground roadway and ventilation would not work unless the entire site is finished at least up to street level.

    Thus with the Port Authority dependent on Mr. Silverstein for its own portions of the site to function, Mr. Silverstein has a very strong hand in negotiations—a position that is driving much of the current stalemate. An impasse in the renegotiation of a more typical public development project simply would mean the government might not take in money from the private developer in scheduled payments. Here, impasse threatens delays on crucial elements of the Port Authority’s portion of the site—such as the PATH hub and bus parking—on top of the lack of payments.

    Just how much the Port Authority and others should put in to get the site moving is the key question, with the number ranging anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion in financial backing.

    ebrown@observer.com

    http://www.observer.com/2009/real-es...public-private

    Copyright The New York Observer.

  2. #4517

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    We got conceptual renderings for buildings 2 & 3. Can anybody state with absolute certainty that these projects ever started the design development phase, let alone finished it?
    From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...ts-ground-zero

    (snip)...Silverstein can in theory press ahead with the building of the Rogers and Foster towers, but in practice he is out of cash. He is down to the last $1bn (£660m) of the $4.5bn insurance money he received for the Twin Towers.

    The Rogers partnership, Rogers Stirk Harbour, is still working on its design for Tower Three despite the visible slowing in activity. Foster and Partners completed its design in 2008 and is ready to go on site at any time.

  3. #4518
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    Didn't Silverstein ask Congress or Obama for a stimulus fund to help get the rest of Ground Zero rebuilt?

  4. #4519
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    Quote Originally Posted by scumonkey View Post
    Pa- lezzzz- what a load- no matter what was chosen to be rebuilt, we would still be in the same mess-
    Once the PA (or any other NY government agency) gets involved, you can be sure of two things-
    the money will run out, and it will always be a never ending fiasco of lateness, redrafts, and major disappointment.
    I have to disagree. I am not advocating this course now. I was back in 2001-2003, and had it been decided in early 2002 to rebuild the Twins, we would have saved years of delays from not having all the silly design contests, then redesigns, etc.etc. Construction would have begun around the same time as WTC 7, and they would have been on their way to being topped off by the time this financial crisis hit. So now what we are left with is one modernized version of the original twins in WTC 1, the dissappointing Maki tower, and two stumps.

    The argument for the rebuilding the twins that I espoused was more to do with rebuilding now and keeping all those cooks out of the kitchen, than with what design aesthetic is better and why. Putting it on paper is the easy part. Seeing it to completion is another. Once the debate started, the momentum to rebuild was already half spent. And we see that now.

  5. #4520

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    Your allowed to disagree, but your statements prove
    you don't have a single clue about what is going on down there.
    There is no way in h. e. double hockey sticks the old towers
    would have EVER been rebuilt (then or now)!
    Putting it on paper is the easy part.
    There is absolutely nothing easy about ANY part of this project.
    The original plans would NOT EVER be reused... (not after seeing how the buildings came down).
    No matter what (or when) you advocated it- Even if they wanted to rebuild the twins-
    they would still have to have been redesigned to make them safer- opening the door for the PA
    to invite as many "Cooks" into kitchen, submitting as many new improvement plans as they could- different beginning- same ending

  6. #4521

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    The insiders here can better answer this, but it's not just a matter of dusting off the old blueprints and start building.

    First of all, the twin towers floor-to-floor height was inadequate by present day standards. And before a rebuild could have been started,there would have had to be an investigation as to why the buildings collapsed. The core would have had to be redesigned, with wider, protected stairways. The buildings would have been heavier, needing redesigned footings. New security measures would have still entered the picture.

    They may have looked the same as the twin towers, but in reality, completely different buildings.

    Unlike when the PA took ownership of the 16 acres and just built what they wanted, you now have the PA, Silverstein who just signed a lease a month earlier, insurance policies that were not yet finalized, and various insurance companies that would still have been reluctant to hand over the money.

    There were deficiencies in the original complex. The PATH concourse was as confining as Penn Station. And half the perimeter was a dead zone. No way the PA was going to be allowed to recreate Vesey St.

  7. #4522

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    Well, at least (thankfully) Bush didn't simply give a no-bid contract to Cheney's Hallibuton to dick around and welsh off the taxpayer for exorbitant contract amounts like they have been doing in Iraq for the past 6 or 7 years!!!

  8. #4523
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis View Post
    (snip)...Silverstein is down to the last $1bn (£660m) of the $4.5bn insurance money he received for the Twin Towers.
    How is it possible that he has spent $3.5 billion having built nothing (assuming 7WTC was built its own insurance money)?! Where is the investigative reporting and audit? I guess it's not possible in that it's a private corporation.

    Silverstein's legacy could have been the man that cut threw the red tape and rebuilt the WTC. You'd think he'd really push for that being in the twilight of his life. Now he risks being remembered as just another greedy NYC developer who "can't go possibly forward" until he has milked the taxpayer for as much as possible.

  9. #4524

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySavage View Post
    How is it possible that he has spent $3.5 billion having built nothing (assuming 7WTC was built its own insurance money)?! Where is the investigative reporting and audit? I guess it's not possible in that it's a private corporation.

    Silverstein's legacy could have been the man that cut threw the red tape and rebuilt the WTC. You'd think he'd really push for that being in the twilight of his life. Now he risks being remembered as just another greedy NYC developer who "can't go possibly forward" until he has milked the taxpayer for as much as possible.

    Click on link: http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/do..._20081215.html

    Open link to "Full Madoff client list"... Adobe document.

    Search for "Larry A Silverstein"


  10. #4525
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    ^ I know that idea has been floated a couple times, but has not yet been taken seriously. Surely, if Silverstein Properties had lost the WTC settlement/rebuilding funds in the Madoff scam it would be on the cover of Time, Newsweek, NYMagazine, etc., by now.

    I think a more likely scenario is that the WTC settlement went into the company's overall development pool and helped finance things like Silver Towers, 7WTC, other projects, paid for the architects fees, etc.. And if someone like Silverstein smells an opportunity to get free money from the government, it's to his advantage to make it appear that there is little or no money left for rebuilding.

  11. #4526
    Forum Veteran Daquan13's Avatar
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    It's truly amazing how some are still relishing and quivling over what was there before, to by some frivelously remote and obscure chance that the same 2 structures should've would've or could've been rebuilt there instead of the present plan.

    Guess what? Should'a, would'a, could'a. That plan has been killed even while Ground Zero was being mopped up after the Twins fell.

    And even if that was the case, we'd still, to this very day, be waiting for construction to start on them becaue they are not wanted any more.
    Last edited by Daquan13; May 13th, 2009 at 05:14 PM.

  12. #4527

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    Can you stop pushing the Madoff angle already, its ridiculous.

  13. #4528

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alonzo-ny View Post
    Can you stop pushing the Madoff angle already, its ridiculous.
    His losses are undisclosed. Could be a little, could be a lot.

  14. #4529
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherpa View Post
    His losses are undisclosed. Could be a little, could be a lot.


    I'm over all that.

    Yes, I used to whine, cry and want the old towers rebuilt myself, but I've long since come to the realization that the officials are not looking back that way. I was also told to get over it. And you know what? I HAVE.

    So it matters none to me what gets built there, even if it were the Twins, as long as the land gets rebuilt.

  15. #4530
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    Just to clarify my original support of rebuilding the twins and why I believe in retrospect that still was the best course. I am not an architect but I realize structural changes would have to be made to update and make the structures safer.

    What I am is a sales and marketing manager, and as such I have an understanding as to how big projects need to be sold and pushed through, both through the end customer and also within my organization which will be required to invest engineering time, tooling investments etc. (if any of you have used a 3G device in Manhattan, then you are using infrastructure I sold to one of the major telecoms that helps the signal pass around large structures such as skyscrapers).

    Rebuilding was a difficult question at the time and still is, and if you supported it at the time the simplist and most recognized design was the best form in which to sell to all sides and push through the process: two identical rectangular forms. Doesn't matter what's inside; you just sell and market the two identical rectangles.

    'But what if we...'

    'Eh! Eh!! This is about rebuilding, not an aesthetics excersize or other type of wish list.'

    You either sell rebuilding the Twins or you don't, but keeping it SIMPLE moves and expedites the process along. Once we got away from that concept, it became a slippery slope and a lost cause. It required leadership and salesmanship.


    I realize the debate is over, and those who wanted the public debate because it was warm and fuzzy and democratic, or if you just wanted a new design, well you got it:1/2 of a redesigned and rebuilt twin towers, and many years too late. An outcome completely predictable from the outset. And somehow THAT is stubbornly defended as superior?

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