Mayor Bloomberg gave his State of the City address yesterday, and while he revisited many initiatives (development across all boroughs, crime and safety), there were two new ones and they were big. One was a call for unions to accept concessions on pensions and healthcare - which alreday has some unions up in arms. The other was World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein to ship out of Towers 3 and 4. Here's that part of his speech:
Most importantly of all, this year, as we push forward on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, we need to push aside individual financial interests and focus on what's best for our city. That means it's time to pick up the pace of commercial construction, and to build for uses that reflect the realities of the market and the needs of Lower Manhattan -like the retail development that's so crucial to linking the site back into the life of the city.
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. Such re-negotiations between the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties must not wait. The time to reach agreement is now. We can not allow the Trade Center to be a construction site for the next 15 years, which the current plan all but ensures it will be!
Take that, Larry. The NY Times' analysis sums up the Mayor's situation as having no real say in the WTC rebuilding process but a lot of influence over what can happen - the fact that the Port Authority is on board was critical.
Read the State of the City here. and the highlights of the speech's initiatives are here. Last year's speech was more feel-good, as it was an election year speech.