Governor George E. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell today announced an accord between Deutsche Bank and its insurers to bring down the Deutsche Bank building adjacent to the World Trade Center site. The resolution increases open space, provides for off-site bus parking, and reduces the building density on the World Trade Center site. Most importantly, this agreement will protect the memorial.
Governor George E. Pataki said, "This settlement signals an important step forward in our effort to rebuild Lower Manhattan and honor the memory of those lost at the World Trade Center. Because of this agreement the Deutsche Bank building can be razed, clearing the way for implementation of Daniel Libeskind's vision for the site and construction of the memorial. Deutsche Bank, Allianz, and AXA should be commended for their willingness to put the future of Downtown first and expeditiously reach a settlement. Senator Mitchell has quickly resolved a very complicated and complex issue and should be applauded for his efforts to help rebuild Lower Manhattan after the worst terrorist attacks on American soil."
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "The resolution of the issues surrounding the Deutsche Bank building provide us with a unique opportunity to rebuild the Lower Manhattan skyline. The agreement allows for added flexibility to think more comprehensively about the World Trade Center site, and the surrounding area. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitchell for stepping up and bringing about a quick resolution."
Senator Mitchell said, "I am pleased that the parties were able to come to this agreement, and I greatly appreciate the diligence and spirit of cooperation that they brought to the mediation process. I thank Governor Pataki for giving me the opportunity to participate in this important matter."
The Deutsche Bank building is located at 130 Liberty Street. The razing of the building and acquisition of the property paves the way for full implementation of the site plan. The plan allows for truck security and bus parking to be located below ground and off the World Trade Center site better protecting the memorial. Additionally, the use of the Deutsche Bank site reduces density on the site by moving the proposed fifth office tower to the property, and creates approximately 30,000 square feet of open space in front of the tower.
LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said, "Everyone has worked hard to make this very positive conclusion a reality because it is critical to the rebuilding effort. All the possibilities are now feasible while removing a grisly daily reminder of that tragic day in September 2001. This effort clearly illustrates how the public and private sectors can work closely together and succeed."
LMDC President Kevin M. Rampe said, "The resolution of the Deutsche Bank insurance dispute puts the last piece in place for rebuilding the World Trade Center site. In less than a decade, Lower Manhattan will be home to the world's tallest building, a world-class cultural epicenter, a tremendous memorial that will honor all those we have lost, and a triumphant transportation hub. The removal of the shrouded Deutsche Bank building will replace the blight on downtown with new open spaces for visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy."
Seth Waugh, CEO for Deutsche Bank Americas said, "We applaud Senator Mitchell's leadership and thank him, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg for their roles in expediting an agreement on this issue. As one of the largest employers in Lower Manhattan, we actively support the area's redevelopment and are very pleased with this significant step forward."
Kevin Callahan, CEO of Allianz Global Risks U.S. said, "Allianz is pleased to have come to an accord with Deutsche Bank that will benefit the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. We applaud Senator Mitchell, who embraced creative solutions and provided the direction that achieved resolution. Also, we thank Governor Pataki for initiating this process and to all the parties contributing to its success."
Steven L. Judovin, Senior Vice President of AXA Corporate Solutions Insurance Company said, "As a company based in lower Manhattan, AXA Corporate Solutions is particularly pleased that we were able to achieve a positive solution that will facilitate the rebuilding of this area. We thank Governor Pataki and Senator Mitchell for their tireless and creative efforts in resolving what was a difficult impasse. We also thank the LMDC for the dedication it has shown in making these efforts a reality."
Empire State Development Chairman and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "Thanks to Governor Pataki's wise choice in selecting Senator Mitchell as a mediator, we can all finally close the chapter on the Deutsche Bank insurance dispute. The resolution will make the World Trade Center site more accessible, attractive and secure for visitors and tourists."
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, "When the history of Lower Manhattan is written, this day will be considered one of the most significant in the rebirth of the World Trade Center site and the surrounding area. This agreement will allow us to remove one of the most painful reminders of the horrible events of September 11, will provide the necessary space to meet Governor Pataki's commitments to the families of the heroes of September 11, and will enable us to fulfill our obligations to the hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in Lower Manhattan."
Governor Pataki appointed Senator Mitchell to mediate the dispute between the insurers and Deutsche Bank at the end of October. Senator Mitchell, with the assistance and support of the LMDC, assembled and lead a team to resolve this dispute and negotiations were conducted by the bank, Allianz Insurance and AXA Insurance, and the LMDC. Under the agreement, LMDC will purchase the land for $90 million and pay for the demolition of the building. The agreement caps the cost of cleaning and demolition to $45 million and the insurers would pay any costs above the agency's cap. It will take approximately five to seven months from commencement to a clean site. The agreement ensures that the building demolition and site acquisition will be completed in a timely manner and with sensitivity to the environment and surrounding community.
The Deutsche Bank building was heavily damaged by the attacks of September 11, 2001 when it suffered a 15-story gash after the south twin tower collapsed. Deutsche Bank previously settled with Chubb Corp. and Zurich Financial Services AG.
Senator Mitchell represented Maine in the United States Senate for 14 years, the last six as Majority Leader. At the request of the British and Irish Governments, Senator Mitchell served as Chairman of the International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland, and as Chairman of the subsequent peace negotiations. Under his leadership the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom agreed to an historic accord, ending decades of conflict. The agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the voters of Ireland, North and South.
For his service in the cause of peace, Senator Mitchell has received numerous awards and honors, including the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. Government can bestow. In December of 2001, Senator Mitchell accepted an appointment as overseer of the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, which provides relief for September 11th attack victims and their families.