|The worlds greatest developers are right here in NYC and Larry Silverstein holds eminent domain.Silverstein welcomed the B’nai B’rith by praising their over 100 year old organization and their extraordinary work- saying when he was asked if he would give his time ” definitely” and when they asked if would pay for lunch – “of course.”
The animated, charasmatic and joyful impressario of Silverstein Properties standing behind a sleekly designed transparent lecturn talked for nearly 40 minutes about his most important project -The development of The new World Trade Center complex.The group of seventy sat in neat white chairs alongside 12 foot high glass windows privy to the magnificent view overlooking the development site – the renaissance of downtown New York City.
In relating what he termed as the progress down here Silverstein imparted his vision of what downtown will become and a few lessons he has learned along the way of a 55 year career.
1) Don’t bet against New York – It always comes back and strongly.
He was referring to WTC 7 which was built on spec. At the beginning “we were the only tenant and it was lonely”. Everyone thought I was crazy to start to build at that point in time but another thing I have learned is to build when the economy is down because by the time the building is finished the economy will be better – Now we’re fully leased.
A nearly 5 foot high model of the finished project brings to life the in- progress construction. Silverstein elaborated on the details – The finished site will include new elements such as a performing arts center designed by Frank Gehry, a new transportation hub, and half of the site will be public space.
All of the buildings are Leed Gold certified and the combination of world class architecture and design, iconic buildings to reshape the NYC skyline and green efficiency will bring a new vitality to downtown NYC that will rival the majesty that New Yorkers felt when Rockefeller Center was built in the 1930’s.
What has driven Silverstein and all of the employees at Silverstein Properties is the passion to build something better for all the families, friends and New Yorkers that needed to give a new meaning to the 2,752 people that lost their lives… four of whom worked for the Silverstein Organization.
Silverstein said from the moment the decision was made to rebuild “I never waivered.” “This is all happening because New Yorker’s refuse to give up.”
Eighty floors of the 104 stories are completed and The Freedom Tower is on the way to becoming New York’s tallest building. Over 3,000 construction workers are working on the project and if it wasn’t for this project the construction industry in New York City would be devastated.
The project is costing over 20 billion dollars. Conde Nast’s decision to lease one million square feet has been a boon but unfortunately UBS will not be leasing any space after long negotiations finally ended upon the release of the last quarterly earnings which were markedly down and then the 2.3 billion rogue trading scandal put a lid on any further hopes of that lease.
However world class retailers are very interested in the retail portion of the development and a deal has been struck between Westfield and The Port Authority for 600 million on 500,000 sq. ft.
More people live in walking distance of work in downtown NYC than anywhere else in the US and with six million tourists a year the future of downtown residential and retail is promising.
If Silverstein had a motto it just might be Never Give Up or A Miracle Happened Here…it won’t be long until each New Yorker gets to decide what the Freedom Towers will mean to each one off them.
David Stone, President, Stone Capital Advisors, LLC; Dan Pryor, Partner, Odessa Realty Investments; Marvin Shulsky, Shulsky Properties, Inc; James Stifel, Chief Investment Officer, Benenson Capital Partners, LLC; Ellen Israel, Senior Director, JRT Realty Group; Daniel Nelson, President, Nelson Companies
Richard Maltz, Greiner-Maltz Company of New York, Inc; Lucy Carter, Associate, Director of Business Development, Ted Moudis Associates
Ben Haghani, Director of Aquisitions, Fortuna Realty Group; Misha Haghani, Esq. Principal, Paramount Realty USA; Scott Burman, Principal, The Engel Burman Group; Zachary Rechler, Associate Producer, Northmarq Capital