Press Release Article
STATEMENT BY: CHRIS WARD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, IN RESPONSE TO LETTER OF ARBITRATION FROM SILVERSTEIN PROPERTIES
Date: Aug 04, 2009
Press Release Number: 99-2009
Silverstein Properties (SPI) has now rejected four offers that put on the table significant amounts of public investment to move their private office towers forward. All that was asked in return was for Mr. Silverstein to take on the same risk he was asking of the public and he could not even agree to do that. It is clear SPI will accept nothing less than two fully subsidized office buildings and that is irresponsible and unacceptable. This arbitration process cannot distract from that fundamental point - that SPI would rather have public dollars at risk in place of its own private investment.
The Port Authority remains confident that it is meeting all of its obligations under the 2006 Master Development Agreement, and we look forward to a decision from the arbitration panel resolving this matter. While this process is ongoing, we plan to complete the final turnover of sites 2 and 3 to SPI, which will end the agency’s $300,000 a day damage obligations and begin the clock on SPI to complete Towers 2, 3 and 4.
Mr. Silverstein’s press statement contention that delays on the World Trade Center site have adversely affected the financing of his office towers completely ignores the reality that we are in the single worst economic recession since the Great Depression and that developers all around the City are being forced to put their projects on hold and wait for the market to return. This is not something unique to the WTC site. In fact, the 2006 Master Development Agreement (MDA) called for final turnovers by the end of 2008, well after major financial institutions contemplated as anchor tenants at the site were no longer in existence and after the economic recession fully set in. The bottom line is Silverstein didn’t miss the market, the market missed Silverstein.
In the meantime, the Port Authority is on schedule to meet the completion dates in its October assessment. We will continue the daily and visible progress in building the Memorial, One World Trade Center, the Transportation Hub and the other public infrastructure projects the agency is responsible for. Already, more than 70% of the Memorial steel is complete and the pools and plaza are taking shape. One World Trade Center has over 200 feet of construction completed and the plaza is built to the front door. The Transportation Hub has installed 47 arches to build the East West connector, the Fulton Street deck is built, and the West Street tunnel has begun. And we are working around the ongoing delays in bringing down 130 Liberty Street in order to keep the VSC moving forward.
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