2006_03_freedomtw.jpgThere's plenty of back-door action in negotiations over Ground Zero. The New York Times reports that Governor Pataki and Larry Silverstein are close to an agreement on the Freedom Tower. The deal would be much better financially for Silverstein if it's approved by the Port Authority. According to The Times, Silverstein would not have to both build and lease the Freedom Tower, giving the PANYNJ control of the proposed 1,776' signature building. Silverstein would retain the rights for developing three other sites at ground zero.

As progress on an agreement inches along, Eliot Spitzer took a shot at Pataki and the plans for the Freedom Tower. Spitzer called the project a "white elephant" and contends that the potential cost would be a burden. Clearly, he doesn't want the tower built if the burden would fall on him as he eyes the governor's mansion. Pataki, who is treating the Freedom Tower as his pet project before leaving office, responded by saying, "The Freedom Tower is a very important part of showing our country and the world that New York is not afraid to build tall."

Also at Ground Zero, more bone fragments were found during a thorough cleanup of the Deutsche Bank building. And a webcam will go live later today on the LMDC site. The camera will only update once every hour.

Image of Lower Manhattan with the proposed Freedom Tower by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/dbox