WTC is rebuilt, but Silverstein and Lowy friendship unraveled

The two men clashed over rebuilding efforts

Frank Lowy, the World Trade Center (credit: Port Authority) and Larry Silverstein
Frank Lowy, the World Trade Center (credit: Port Authority) and Larry Silverstein

Fifteen years after the attacks, much of the World Trade Center complex has been restored. But in the process, a friendship between two major figures in the rebuilding has unraveled.

Developer Larry Silverstein [TRDataCustom] and Frank Lowy, chairman of the Westfield Corp., who jointly took over the World Trade Center two months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, have largely gone their separate ways, the Wall Street Journal reported. The two men say they are cordial to each other, but there are signs of a frayed friendship. Silverstein is no longer on one of Westfield’s companies’ boards, and the two men no longer spend time on each other’s yachts.

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The two became friends in the 1980s and 1990s, and they teamed up to buy the Port Authority’s 99-year lease on the World Trade Center complex for $3.2 billion. But following Sept. 11, 2001, the two men clashed over rebuilding efforts. Silverstein wanted to restore the street grid in the area, but the Lowys wanted to rebuild their mall and feared that the grid would cut off the building from the rest of the site.

Though Westfield sold back its lease in 2003, the two men clashed again when the company negotiated to take over the retail space in the Oculus. Westfield eventually cut a deal for 365,000 square feet of retail space in the transit hub. [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel