Hey, guess what? Over a year after missing the July 1, 2008 deadline to turn over the World Trade Center site to developer Larry Silverstein, now the Port Authority says the site will be ready! The Daily News reports, "Agency brass say that within the next two months, they'll turn over 'construction-ready land' to the developer - and stop paying him $300,000-a-day in late fees they've paid for more than a year. The handover of the World Trade Center parcel will start the clock ticking on a contractual deal that requires Silverstein to construct the Church St. buildings within five years - or else."
Port Authority executive director Chris Ward referred to the "or else": "He will be in default, and the conclusion of that will be - and I emphasize the word conclusion - that the Port Authority would take title to all three towers." The PA is also taking different steps to speed up construction: "The bistate agency will pay the Tishman and Turner construction companies of New York $105 million to provide more efficient construction management at the site in lower Manhattan."
The News also reports that the PA is ready to move an access-blocking wall in the site; Silverstein's spokesman said, "It's nice to hear that - 32 weeks after an arbitration panel mandated the removal of the PA's wall in the middle of the site - they are now taking 'aggressive action,' which may result in this work getting done after a couple of more months." Snark on!