Friday, December 29, 2006

The Battle for Ground Zero, Part 203

A Chinese company is bidding for significant space in the Freedom Tower. This is the same company that had a deal fall through for space in 7WTC.
A Chinese real-estate firm is negotiating with the Port Authority to lease one-third of the Freedom Tower, just six months after the company was rebuffed in a bid for space in the recently completed 7 World Trade Center, sources told The Post.

Beijing Vantone Real Estate would be the Freedom Tower's first private tenant, joining state and federal agencies that are in the midst of finalizing leases for a combined 1 million square feet of space in the tower.

Talks are taking place between Vantone and the Port Authority, which took over control of the Freedom Tower from Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein earlier this year.

A Port Authority spokesman declined to comment.

Vantone had tried to lease the top five floors of 7 World Trade Center, but the tower's owner, Larry Silverstein, yanked the offer because of delays in financing.

If the latest deal with Vantone comes through, the Port Authority will have solid commitments to lease 1.8 million square feet of the 2.6 million-square-foot tower.
The fact that the building isn't even built and has a commitment for nearly 70% of the space shows that there is significant strength in the real estate market in Lower Manhattan and gives lie to the positions taken by Bloomberg and others who sought to minimize the rebuilding of office space lost in the 9/11 attacks. The Post doesn't have kind words for Gov. Pataki who's now considering a run for the Presidency but whose oversight of the Ground Zero rebuilding was horrendous as the site remains largely barren. It was only a last minute push that saw structural steel begin to rise at the Freedom Tower site more than two years after the cornerstone was first laid.

Meanwhile, more bone fragments were recovered from manholes in the vicinity of Ground Zero.

UPDATE 10/31/2006:
Still more remains were discovered yesterday in the area currently being excavated for the Freedom Tower.

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