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Silverstein far from ready to give up his rights.

In spite of increasing pressure from New York politicians, Larry Silverstein's camp insists he is not considering giving up the redevelopment rights to Towers 3 and 4 of the World Trade Center site.

After a published report portrayed Silverstein's current negotiations with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey as centering on the control of Towers 3 and 4, a source close to the developer said the negotiations have to do with lease issues at the site and will not result in a new redevelopment bid.

PA spokesman Steve Coleman confirmed that, on Governor Pataki's orders, the agency and Silverstein have until March to sort out various aspects of the WTC lease, but said that it is too early in the process to speculate on whether other developers are going to join the project.

The 74-year-old Silverstein has come under a lot of public criticism lately for delays in the reconstruction of the WTC site. In his State of the City address on January 26, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called on the developer to relinquish control of Towers 3 and 4 for a reduction in the rent he pays for the site.

Silverstein owes $3.2 billion in rental fees, payable over a 99-year period, as part of the deal he signed with the Port Authority six weeks before the terrorist attacks.

"We need to push aside individual financial interests and focus on what's best for our city," Bloomberg has said. "We can do this if Silverstein Properties is willing to do the right thing--and hand off responsibility for building Towers 3 and 4, in exchange for a reduction of its rent. And we can do it if the Port Authority commits to occupying one of the towers and working quickly to identify a developer for the other, so that all projects can proceed simultaneously at the same, quick pace."

Developers such as The Related Companies and Minskoff Equities, Inc. have already expressed interest in the project.
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Author:Misonzhnik, Elaine
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 8, 2006
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