British architect says developer Silverstein must secure private financing

The British architect behind one of the four major skyscrapers planned at New York’s Ground Zero has described as a “crying shame” news that plans for the tower have stalled, a decade on from the 9/11 attacks.

Richard Paul, director at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, was responding to developer Larry Silverstein’s admission that the firm’s long-delayed World Trade Center Tower 3 - the third tallest skyscraper on the World Trade Center site - will not be built above seven storeys without further private financing.

What Larry needs to do now is really up the leasing on the site

Richard Paul, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The proposed 71-storey tower (right), boasting diagonal supports on its facade and topped with four spires, recently missed out on securing Swiss bank UBS as a major tenant, prompting developer Larry Silverstein to claim a lack of political leadership in Washington on tax and revenue policies was putting off tenants.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the 6.5ha Ground Zero site and last year announced an agreement with Silverstein Properties to get the entire development - including the construction of Tower 3 - moving by 2015.

“It’s a crying shame that the current financial downturn we are all suffering through has resulted in such a problem getting major corporate tenants into the space,” said Paul.

“What Larry needs to do now is really up the leasing on the site to make sure we can keep the development of the tower going.

I know he, along with his team, are 100% behind this. There is an agreement with the port authority to get a certain percentage of the tower, around 400,000ft2, leased. Whether or not this can be achieved will be determined in part by the market. But one way or another, it’s very important that he [Silverstein] secures a tenant.”

In an interview with Reuters, Silverstein said: “One of the things that creates uncertainty is not knowing who the leadership is, where it’s coming from, what’s going to happen tomorrow.”