Silverstein, PA reach tenative WTC deal

March 25, 2010 09:18AM

After a 16-month standoff between developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at Ground Zero, the two sides have reached a tentative agreement that would allow for two new Silverstein skyscrapers on the site. Silverstein, who held a lease on the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001 and has paid rent to the Port Authority ever since, has the right to build three new towers at the World Trade Center site. But he ran into financing trouble as the real estate market crumbled and had asked for help from the Port Authority, last month proposing to scrap plans for the third tower in order to save money. Under the new deal, which was still being negotiated yesterday afternoon, the agency would finance Silverstein’s planned 64-story Church Street building, in which it has also already agreed to rent space. If Silverstein is able to raise $300 million in cash and sign 400,000 square feet worth of corporate leases for his second, 71-story building at Ground Zero, then the agency, Gov. David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg would also agree to provide backup financing for the tower. The remaining $1 billion in insurance money from the Sept. 11 attacks and tax-free Liberty Bonds would be pooled for the two properties. Silverstein’s planned third tower wouldn’t be completely dead, either — just postponed. The Port Authority is meeting at 1:30 p.m. today, and the hope is that an agreement will have been finalized by that time. [NYT]