Goldman Sachs Breaks Ground Across From Trade Center Site
11/29/2005 05:37 PM
Ground was broken Tuesday on Goldman Sachs' new downtown headquarters across from the World Trade Center site.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki and Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer all took part in the ground breaking ceremony.
The city and state convinced the company to stay downtown by offering almost $200 million in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds and other incentives.
The new tower will stand 43 stories on West Street. Goldman Sachs will occupy all of it, but the governor says the hope is to lure other companies downtown as well.
Meanwhile, a final plan is in place for the EPA to retest buildings contaminated after the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Residents and building owners can request to have their buildings tested over a two month period, which will be announced after the New Year. If the samples show contaminants beyond certain threshold levels, the EPA will offer to clean them up.
The EPA was widely criticized for the way it tested buildings right after the September 11th attacks. The agency brought in an expert review panel to craft this new program.
NY1’s Davidson Goldin filed this report.
Goldman Sachs drove a hard bargain, but after nearly $200 million in taxpayer-funded incentives, the financial giant broke ground on a new headquarters across the street from the World Trade Center site.
“This community is today a 24-hour a day community with new hotels, new residences and new restaurants, and we are today confirming the fact that Lower Manhattan is the financial capital of the world,” said Governor Pataki.
The Goldman Sachs project is part of a delicate balancing act downtown. Until recently, Pataki was pressing for only office space on the World Trade Center site. But he seems willing to compromise with Mayor Bloomberg, who wants apartment buildings and a hotel on the 16-acre plot.
The market for office space downtown is soft, and World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein hasn't found any tenants for the first new office tower on the site, World Trade Center No. 7.
“I'm sure if anybody wants to rent space, Larry is right here, pen in hand. He’d be happy to sign a lease," Bloomberg said Monday.
Goldman Sachs will occupy the entire new building, so finding tenants isn't an issue. As a look at the dais shows, the project is very important to elected officials.
In the spring, Goldman Sachs bankers briefly cancelled the project because of security concerns. The company objected to a planned tunnel under the West Side Highway that was supposed to begin right outside its building. There were also concerns about the yet-to-be-built Freedom Tower, a potential terrorism target directly across the street.
The tunnel was scrapped, and Goldman Sachs won the unprecedented right to withhold $161 million from the city until the NYPD comes up with a security plan for the area. Along with tax breaks, that brought the project back to life.
“I think everything is moving ahead very smoothly," said Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Henry Paulson Jr. “I’m very optimistic.”
But the security plan isn't finished yet.
“I said to [Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly I just want to be assured that if I said, ÎWould you be comfortable having your children work in that building?’ that you could look me in the eye and give me an affirmative, ÎYes.’"
The Goldman Sachs groundbreaking is a big break for the mayor and the governor, who want to prove they're making progress downtown.
But the bigger issue - what other buildings will rise on the site, what will occupy them and when will they be built - remains unresolved.
- Davidson Goldin