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Silverstein envisions bright future for 7 WTC.

Just before being whisked off to the afternoon topping out ceremony for the 52-story 7 World Trade Center on October 21, owner Larry Silverstein found time to outline some of his new building's finer features--as well as the grand vision for the reconstruction of the entire Ground Zero site and surrounding area--at a luncheon held at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Accompanied by a slideshow, which was particularly compelling considering the visually impressive subject matter, Silverstein spoke about the Fulton Street Transit station, the WTC Memorial site, the WTC arts center to be designed by Frank Gehry, the Freedom Tower, as well as WTC towers 4,5,6 and, of course, WTC 7. By the end, it wasn't hard to see the wisdom of his investing so much money in developing the area.

While nearly all of downtown's development projects have already been well documented, seeing them presented in succession and linked into one grand scheme by the developer himself created a particularly fresh and vivid effect. The pictures, which detailed the layout of the entire WTC area, made clear exactly what we'll see if Silverstein's vision is fully realized. One especially intriguing video clip, displayed climactically near the end of the presentation, even depicted a distant but realistic photo aerial view of Silverstein's completed WTC site, a feat accomplished with high tech digital wizardry.

Nothing bridged the gap between the virtual and the real better than 7's near completion, however. An almost finished 7 WTC tangibly breathed life and immediacy into the presentation, itself benefiting from the excitement of all the surrounding development.

Firms will want to come to 7 WTC not only because of its amenities and floor plates, but because it offers them a chance to buy into the heart of downtown's revitalization--a revitalization that offers much improved transportation, prominent centers for culture and the arts, park and public spaces, a 24/7 neighborhood, and maybe also towering landmark neighbors. Downtown, a perennial also-ran to midtown, might finally give its rival a run if things go according to Silverstein's plan.

Over a month after WTC 7's top off, Silverstein says a floor is being completed per week. It's still too early in the leasing process to tell specifically who will occupy the 1.7 million s/f building, however. According to CB Richard Ellis brokers Howard Fiddle and Adam Foster, who are leading a seven-person CBRE team charged with leasing the building, 7 World Trade will attract more than just financial and law firms known as the traditional occupiers of downtown space.

"Advertising and publishing firms have been expressing interest in the building," said Foster. "More and more creative firms are giving downtown a look because a lot of young people--their workforce--are living there and also in Brooklyn."

The building's roughly $50 per s/f asking prcie is half of what elite midtown space leases for, so even those not impressed by the downtown revolution may be swayed by the area's economic merits.

"Right now we're meeting with big users," said Fiddle. "Educating them about the area and how great it is. It's not just getting better, it's already a lot of the way there. Downtown has become a place to live. If you walk around at 10:00 on any given night you'll see people out and about. You never used to see that, it's just becoming a place people want to be."

During his presentation, Silverstein explained that 7 World Trade incorporates in its design all that was learned from the events of 9/11. The building's central column is its main support and is surrounded all the way up by two-foot thick super strong concrete walls. Within this giant concrete clad interior is where the tower's elevators and stairwells are located. Because the building's middle provides the bulk of the support, the 40K s/f floors are without columns and the floor to ceiling 10-foot high glass windows are left unobstructed.
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Title Annotation:World Trade Center; Larry Silverstein
Author:Geiger, Daniel
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:On the web.
Next Article:West Side Stadium is more than sports venue, Doctoroff says.

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