NEW YORK, May 28 (Reuters) - A vote was again delayed on Wednesday on a deal to complete a third World Trade Center tower, with the New York and New Jersey transportation agency saying it now favors private financing instead of loan guarantees for developer Larry Silverstein.
Details of a possible private financing were not released. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey vice-chairman Scott Rechler said during a board meeting that it has had interest from re-insurance companies and “some of the largest financial service players in the world.”
Rechler said he has a “very high degree of confidence” that some kind of public-private financing mechanism can be achieved. Rechler said the agency would make “hybrid” financing “our primary area of focus.”
The Port Authority had been considering providing Silverstein with $1.2 billion in guarantees so he can secure a construction loan for 3 World Trade Center, in lower Manhattan where the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks destroyed the 110-story twin towers.
“Having agreed to the requests conveyed by Port Authority leadership, we are surprised that the discussions did not yield a successful resolution,” Silverstein said in a statement. He said he remains committed to working with the agency.
The deal, even with concessions that would improve the Port Authority’s position, became entangled in a debate over the agency’s mission, including whether it should be in the real estate business at all.
Those questions emerged as lawmakers, prosecutors and the agency itself began scrutinizing the organization after operatives loyal to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie caused massive traffic jams last September on the George Washington Bridge. It was an apparent act of political retribution for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey near the bridge who did not endorse Republican Christie’s reelection campaign.
Critics have complained about the slow pace of reconstruction at the World Trade Center site in the nearly 13 years since the hijacked-plane attacks. David Stanke lives next door. After the attacks, Stanke said, he told his four children the area would be rebuilt soon. They are now between 15 and 18 years old.
“I lied to my children,” he told commissioners on Wednesday, urging them to push ahead with construction so that community life could come back to the site.
Some development is moving ahead, with the National September 11 Memorial Museum opening to the public on May 21. (Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Grant McCool)