The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave the go-ahead Thursday to allow negotiators to finalize a deal with developer Larry Silverstein over the next 120 days for the construction of several office buildings at the World Trade Center site.
"The heart of downtown is the World Trade Center. And a stalemate on its development threatened the entire area's revival and now that stalemate has ended," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The arrangement calls for shared responsibility for the financing of the 71-story Three World Trade Center building, provided that Silverstein raises $300 million in cash and signs a lease with corporate tenants for about 400,000 square feet.
Those responsible would include the city, state and Port Authority.
The deal also calls for the adjacent Two World Trade Center building to be collectively built, but only to ground level, allowing for future construction once the economy improves.
The Four World Trade Center building has also been guaranteed by the Port Authority and is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
In a statement, Silverstein expressed gratitude to the mayor, the governors of New York and New Jersey and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, saying, said in a statement, "Today’s agreement between my company and the Port Authority will accelerate the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. This is great news for New York."
"We are talking about what amounts to $3 billion in construction. A transaction of that order of magnitude has an enormous amount of detail that needs to be fleshed out in order to make sure that we are being responsible all those interests that we are required to protect," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. "This process will begin now in earnest and hopefully result in something that we're all encouraged will continue the rebuilding of the site."
The agreement caps months of bitter delays, which has attracted international attention for the failure to quickly rebuild the 16-acre site after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Efforts were further delayed by the recent recession.
"We can't wait, we want to hear more construction noise and have the work happening at the World Trade Center and not at legal offices," said Catherine McVay Hughes of Community Board 1.
The finalized arrangement will be presented to the Port Authority Board.