Governor George E. Pataki, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced agreements to occupy space at the Freedom Tower. With construction already underway, they applauded commitments from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) of at least one million sq. ft. of office space in the Freedom Tower on the World Trade Center site.
“We have made tremendous progress in the past six months on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center Site, and currently all of the signature elements for the World Trade Center Master Plan--the Freedom Tower, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and the Memorial are under construction,” Governor Pataki said. “In April, an agreement was reached between the Port Authority and Silverstein Properties on a realignment of interests to create a long-term financial picture, expedite rebuilding, and ensure concrete timelines for the construction of the remainder of the site. In May, Frank Sciame wrapped up a month-long process to bring the memorial vision in line with the $500 million budget, producing a design that will ensure that we can successfully build a memorial that will honor our lost heroes and tell their stories to the world. Construction on the footings and foundations for the memorial began in August. And I am proud to announce the State and Federal government are moving forward with space commitments at the Freedom Tower.”
New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, “Since the April agreement, we have seen substantial progress at the World Trade Center site with construction on all the site's major components, including the memorial, underway. Today’s announcement is yet another positive step towards comprehensively rebuilding the World Trade Center and renewing Lower Manhattan as a center of economic prosperity for our entire region.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “With today’s announcement, we are another significant step closer to our goal of restoring the World Trade Center site as a hub of commerce in Lower Manhattan. When completed, the World Trade Center site – with its beautiful memorial and a series of towers designed by some of the world's best architects – will not only serve as a fitting tribute to those we have lost, but provide a brighter future for our City.”
Lurita Doan, Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, said, “We are proud to be a partner in this rebuilding process. It demonstrates the strength and determination of the people of New York and of this nation to rebuild undeterred by those who would rather destroy. The return of the Federal government to Lower Manhattan and their presence in the Freedom Tower is more than symbolic; it is a commitment to the building of a Memorial that captures the American spirit. This is indeed a great day for our country.”
The Port Authority and the State of New York, through the Office of General Services (OGS), have reached an agreement on the terms of a 15 year, 415,000 sq. ft. space lease at the Freedom Tower. The term sheet will also provide the State of New York with the ability to expand their presence to 50 years and up to a total of 1,000,000 square feet in the future. OGS and the Port Authority will use this agreement on terms to put together a formal lease in upcoming months. The Port Authority and the U.S. General Services Administration executed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to have U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other Federal Agencies occupy over 600,000 square feet in the Freedom Tower. The MOA outlines the framework that will be used to negotiate a formal lease and allows the GSA to begin its process of seeking the approvals it requires in order to execute a lease of this magnitude. Under the agreements, both governmental entities will be paying an estimated rent of approximately $59 per square foot.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, “Today’s announcement represents another significant step in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. The agreement for leasing at the new Freedom Tower will provide workers from state agencies and departments with the office space necessary to continue delivering efficient and effective governmental services to the people of New York State.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “I am pleased that the Office of General Services is answering my call from last year to join me and become future World Trade Center tenants. As a freshman Assemblyman, my district office occupied Room 5489 of the World Trade Center. I believe this state has a solemn obligation to make that same kind of commitment. It is a commitment that will set an example for all prospective tenants that Lower Manhattan – the business and financial capital of the world - is the place to be. I hope this move will serve as a catalyst that will attract many more future tenants to my downtown community.”
Acting OGS Commissioner John J. Spano said, “The execution of a Term Sheet is an important step in State agencies occupying space in the Freedom Tower. This is a win-win for the State of New York. The high-tech office building offers custom build-out, creates greater efficiency through state-of-the-art amenities and allows the state to consolidate resources. Moving to the Freedom Tower continues Governor Pataki’s record of using state leases in downtown areas to stimulate economic growth. We at OGS are eager to continue lease negotiations with the Port Authority to bring even more state workers to Lower Manhattan and help ensure downtown’s success.”
On April 27, 2005 construction began on the 1,776 foot tall Freedom Tower. Blasting work was completed in August to expedite the construction of the footings and foundations and sub-grade steel for the Freedom Tower is expected to arrive by the end of the year. Demolition on the east bathtub began this summer to remove the infrastructure from the old Hudson and Manhattan rail terminal, and construction on the fourth platform of the transportation hub is underway ensuring the transportation hub’s opening in 2009. Construction of the slurry wall for the new east bathtub will begin this fall and memorial foundation work will continue through the end of this year.
“Our collective vision for a rebuilt World Trade Center continues to be realized. We will secure the future of the plan we together created and ensure downtown’s future as the financial capital of the world--rebuilding our community and healing our country. Rebuilding the World Trade Center site is our moral obligation and we will see it through. In just five short years, the Freedom Tower, and Towers 3 and 4, as well as the vibrant retail complex will be complete. The Memorial’s footing and foundations are well underway and the Memorial remains on schedule for completion by September 11, 2009,” the Governor added.
Jones Lang LaSalle recently released a report predicting Lower Manhattan’s commercial availability rate would fall below 10 percent by the end of the year. The overall availability rate for the second quarter of 2006 was 11.3 percent. The availability rate includes the addition of 1.7 million square feet of office space of World Trade Center 7 that came on-line this year. The Alliance for Downtown New York reports that during the past year, at least 72 companies have committed to relocating their businesses from Midtown, Midtown South and elsewhere in the metropolitan region to Lower Manhattan accounting for more than 1.5 million square feet of office space south of Murray Street.