Friday, March 24, 2006

The Battle For Ground Zero, Part 109

I wish I could finally end this ongoing series about developments at Ground Zero and instead provide updates about the ongoing construction, but the political infighting among the participants who have, or think they have, control over the site is continuing to thwart development.

Nicole Gelinas delves into the financial issues that are driving the current conflict between Silverstein, the Port Authority and even Mayor Bloomberg. Bloomberg comes off the worst, since his withholding of Liberty Bonds is potentially the biggest threat to rebuilding since his share represents the margin that Silverstein would need to not only rebuild the complex, but establish a financially viable project. And it's possible that Bloomberg is actually violating the law that established the Liberty Bonds in the first place by withholding them from redevelopment in Lower Manhattan. Bloomberg has already permitted developers in other parts of the city access to those bonds in projects that will compete with Lower Manhattan.
Bloomberg, by withholding the Liberty Bonds, is acting not as a responsible steward of the city's rebuilding resources, but as a self-fulfilling prophet of Downtown doom. It's hard to see how he is acting in good faith.

Remember, this is the mayor whose scheme for encouraging real-estate development on Manhattan's Far West Side (without benefit of Downtown's transit assets) was thwarted by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver - who represents Lower Manhattan.
Payback's a bitch. And everyone is suffering from this fight, most importantly businesses in Lower Manhattan who are working in an uncertain work environment.

UPDATE 3/27/2006:
Welcome Ed Driscoll and City Journal readers. As you'll note from the title, this is part of my ongoing coverage of WTC related developments. I hope you find my take on the situation informative and worth the extra clicks. Thanks for stopping by.

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