Press Release Article


GOVERNOR PATAKI, ACTING GOVERNOR DiFRANCESCO LAUD HISTORIC PORT AUTHORITY AGREEMENT TO PRIVATIZE WORLD TRADE CENTER

Date: Jul 24, 2001
Press Release Number: 101-2001

NOTE: SEE WTC FACTS \"BY THE NUMBERS\" AT THE END OF THIS PRESS RELEASE.

New York Governor George E. Pataki and New Jersey Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco today hailed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey\'s decision to privatize the management and operation of the World Trade Center, a world-renowned icon that for three decades has been New York City\'s most famous landmark.

Silverstein Properties, Inc., and Westfield America, Inc. will lease the Twin Towers and other portions of the complex in a deal worth approximately $3.2 billion – the city\'s richest real estate deal ever and one of the largest privatization initiatives in history.

“From my first days in office, I have pushed hard to privatize the management and operation of the World Trade Center because I believe that government is at its best when it focuses on its core mission. Today, as we make history, we can say: Mission accomplished,” Governor Pataki said. “By sharpening the agency’s focus on our airports, seaports, bridges and tunnels, the Port Authority can improve services to all its customers and become a stronger economic engine for the entire region, helping the private sector create good jobs and opportunities for our citizens.”

Acting Governor DiFrancesco said, “This lease is a victory for the people of our region who depend on the Port Authority to keep transportation strong and trade moving through the metropolitan area. We can all be proud of the Port Authority\'s role in building the World Trade Center and making it such a success. But now the Port Authority will be able to focus on its primary mission of economic development, and concentrate on such projects as extending the Newark Airport monorail to the Northeast Corridor rail line, purchasing new PATH cars and improving the maritime ports and bridges and tunnels. Now is the right time to privatize and make this region an even stronger center for commerce, transportation and trade.” While the Port Authority’s 99-year net lease with Silverstein Properties, Inc., and Westfield America, Inc. is worth approximately $3.2 billion to the Port Authority on a present-value basis, the complex’s value to the economy of the region is incalculable. As the site of 40,000 jobs and a stopping point for 150,000 daily visitors, the World Trade Center has an economic and emotional impact that is felt far beyond the complex’s 16 acres.

Port Authority Chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg said, “No private developer would have built the World Trade Center when it was proposed nearly four decades ago. It was simply too vast and risky an undertaking, and even the Port Authority with all its resources faced great opposition. But the agency persevered and constructed a first-class complex, which succeeded in revitalizing Manhattan’s downtown real estate market.

“Today marks a new chapter in the World Trade Center’s vibrant life, one in which it gains the benefits of private expertise and capital while continuing the public purposes for which it was built. We fully expect that, with this new lease, the World Trade Center will continue to be the most desirable commercial property in New York.” Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The World Trade Center and its Twin Towers are among the handful of instantly recognizable structures on the entire planet, like the Pyramids at Giza or the Great Wall of China. And now this property will be notable not only for its appearance, but also for this unique public-private partnership that has been struck between the Port Authority, Silverstein Properties and Westfield America.”

Port Authority Executive Director Neil D. Levin said, “As the Port Authority enters into this historic agreement, it is important to note that the agency will continue to play a significant role in the management of the World Trade Center. For instance, the agency will retain its oversight of the complex’s building, fire, environmental and health codes and the integrity of its physical plant. We will continue to protect this outstanding public asset so that it can continue to flourish.

“Under the Port Authority’s leadership, the World Trade Center reached near-capacity occupancy rates even as asking rents doubled over the last five years. Meanwhile, dozens of new shops thrived in the complex’s transformed retail space – one of the most successful malls in the country. The Port Authority looks forward to sharing in the successes of the Silverstein and Westfield companies as they build upon these accomplishments.”

New York State Research Council on Privatization Chairman Ronald S. Lauder said, “By moving moving the World Trade Center off the state inventory and into the free market, off the State inventory and into the free market,Governor Pataki is once again putting taxpayers first. Across his time in office, Governor Pataki has consistently usedused the power of private enterprise to deliver better services for taxpayers faster and at a lower price. Today\'s success is the latest and the highest profile example of Governor Pataki\'s focusing government on what it should be doing and avoiding areas it has no business meddling in. and avoiding areas it has no business meddling in. And today, with this multi-billion dollar deal done, hard-working New York taxpayers have 3.2 billion reasons to appreciate Governor Pataki\'s leadership.”

Larry Silverstein, Chief Executive Officer of Silverstein Properties, Inc. said, “I am proud to assume the stewardship of the World Trade Center, one of New York’s greatest jewels. We are committed to maintaining the World Trade Center\'s high standards and building on the fine record established by the Port Authority in operating the property as a first-class office and retail complex.” in operating the property as a first-class office and retail complex.\"

Peter S. Lowy, Chief Executive Officer of Westfield America, Inc. said, “Under the Port Authority’s direction, the retail space at the World Trade Center has undergone a renaissance and is now one of the most sought-after retail locations anywhere. Westfield America intends to capitalize on this great opportunity to make the World Trade Center an even more popular destination for employees, residents, shoppers and tourists.\"

Today’s agreement covers One and Two World Center (the Twin Towers), Four and Five World Trade Center (two nine-story office buildings), and approximately 425,000 square feet of retail space. JP Morgan/Chase, Cushman & Wakefield and Milstein Realty Advisors acted as advisors to the Port Authority.

Three World Trade Center (the WTC Marriott Hotel), Six World Trade Center (the U.S. Customshouse) and Seven World Trade Center (a 47-story office building) are already under long-term leases.

The World Trade Center welcomed its first tenant in December 1970. More than 430 companies from 28 countries lease space in the complex. They are engaged in a wide variety of commercial activities, including banking and finance, insurance, transportation, import, export, freight forwarding, customs brokerage, trade associations and representatives of foreign governments.

end

THE WORLD TRADE CENTER: BY THE NUMBERS

0: Interior support columns on the 50,000-square-foot floors of the Twin Towers.

5: Acres that make up a public plaza named for Austin J. Tobin, the Port Authority’s Executive Director from 1942-72.

7: Buildings in the World Trade Center. In addition to One and Two World Trade Center (the Twin Towers), the complex includes Three World Trade Center (the World Trade Center Marriott Hotel); Four and Five World Trade Center (the Southeast and Northeast Plaza Buildings); Six World Trade Center (the U.S. Customs House); and Seven World Trade Center (a 47-story office building).

16: Acres of land occupied by the complex.

22: Width, in inches, of the windows in the Twin Towers. In an interview with The New York Times, architect Minoru Yamasaki

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