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World Trade Center Fight Officially Enters Blind Rage Phase

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Yesterday the war of words over the World Trade Center standstill erupted into something that makes all other active real estate feuds in the city look like a schoolgirls' slap fight over whose dollies are prettier. Developer Larry Silverstein, still on his quest to get the Port Authority to finance the construction of the 79-story Tower 2 and 71-story Tower 3, responded to Governor Paterson's tough talk in his direction by alerting the Port Authority that he'll be taking the dispute to arbitration. This action let the dogs out of the cage, and both Silverstein's supporters and the Port Authority took the gloves off and got down and dirty. In fact, pretty much any fight metaphor works here, such is the clusterfuck that is Ground Zero.

Mayor Bloomberg (who wants the towers built ASAP), responding to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center's shocking report that various under-construction WTC components might again be years behind schedule, ripped the Port Authority a new. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver opted for the written word, criticizing the Port Authority in a Post op/ed for not committing to the towers today. He argues that the commercial real estate market might stink right now, but it's all about the future. Won't somebody think of the children?!

The Port Authority, meanwhile, fired off a blistering attack against Silverstein in a statement from Chris Ward, its executive director. Silverstein will argue in arbitration that the Port Authority's delays in turning over the prepped sites for Towers 2 and 3 (a handover finally set to come next week, ending $300,000-per-day penalties paid to Silverstein by the PA) basically ruined his chances at securing financing. Needless to say, Ward doesn't quite agree with that assessment:

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.BURN! Ward also says Silverstein Properties "would rather have public dollars at risk in place of its own private investment." No duh, dude, have you seen the office market lately? Oh, guess that's the point. Anyway, check back in 30 years to see how this all played out.
· Developer at Ground Zero Seeks Arbitration [NYT]
· Bloomy Blasts PA for 'Zero' Progress [NYP]
· Why is Ground Zero rebuilding taking so long? Mayor Bloomberg pins blame on Port Authority [NYDN]
· 'Snarling Up Ground Zero' by Sheldon Silver [NYP]
· All World Trade Center Redevelopment coverage [Curbed]