Good morning and welcome to 7 World Trade Center. It's an honor to be here today with two stalwart rebuilding leaders - Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Silver; Chris Ward, our partner at the Port Authority; Joe Daniels, who has done a great job as the CEO of the Memorial Foundation; and Master Planner Daniel Libeskind. I also want to express my appreciation to Governor Cuomo, who couldn't be here today, but is a strong supporter of the rebuilding effort.
Looking at this area now, it's hard to remember that 10 years ago, many were convinced that Lower Manhattan was finished as a business district. I can tell you that I never wavered on Downtown. I've been in the business for 50 years, and long ago learned to never bet against New York.
My company and I held firm to our conviction that Downtown had enormous potential both as a residential neighborhood and as a business district - that it could and would become a model 24/7 live-work mixed-use community.
We were buoyed by the knowledge that New Yorkers wanted a spectacular rebuilding and a restored skyline - and they didn't want to wait generations to see it finished.
Of course, it hasn't always been easy, and everyone hasn't always agreed. But the one thing everyone did have in common - and what drove us at Silverstein Properties - was a passion to create something even better than existed before.
After 9/11, it took some time to develop a plan that reconciled all the different goals New Yorkers had for a rebuilt Trade Center site, beginning with an appropriate memorial that will honor the memory of the 2,752 people who died here on 9/11. For me that includes four Silverstein employees who - we can't forget - had a total of six children.
Daniel Libeskind's "Memory Foundations" Master Plan did reconcile everyone's goals in a very meaningful way. It turned half of the site into public space. And by re-introducing Manhattan's historic streets through the site, the Libeskind plan ensured the World Trade Center would connect seamlessly to the surrounding neighborhoods.
The plan called for the entire site to be top-tier from an architectural and sustainable design standpoint, and added new public elements like an iconic transit gateway to lower Manhattan, a performing arts center, and a livelier retail streetscape. It also ensured that we could rebuild the core of Downtown's office district, which had been destroyed by terrorists.
Today, for the first time since 9/11, every part of the new World Trade Center is under construction. Today, more than 3,000 construction workers shape millions of tons of concrete, steel and glass into iconic buildings that will soon reclaim New York's skyline.
The Memorial is on schedule to open on the 10th anniversary this Sunday. As you will see when you look out the window, the foundation work on 2 WTC - designed by Norman Foster, and 3 WTC - designed by Richard Rogers - is complete and each building has reached sidewalk level. Work on the transit hub is also well underway.
1 WTC has reached over 80 stories and is now the tallest building in Lower Manhattan. Today 4 WTC is 50 stories high, and like 1 WTC will top out in April of next year. When these buildings open in 2013, our skyline will be restored.
I have been involved with the World Trade Center for more than thirty years now - having signed a lease to build the original 7 World Trade Center back in 1980. Making a success of this rebuilding effort and strengthening this neighborhood is also very personal to me.
We are at a pivotal moment in Downtown Manhattan's reemergence. With the impressive construction progress all across the WTC site; the opening of the Goldman Sachs headquarters; the success of 7 World Trade Center - which has leased up to an exciting mix of top-tier companies; and with Condé Nast's decision to move its headquarters to One World Trade Center, the world has really begun to take notice of what is happening Downtown.
They are seeing that Downtown has a bright future - in part because great companies want to be in high tech, green buildings right next to the best mass transit, and dynamic residential neighborhoods filled with creative talent.
This is all happening because New Yorkers refused to give up. New Yorkers believed that we could and would create a World Trade Center in the heart of a new Downtown that is even better than before. And I sincerely hope that all of you in this room will view our work here as in some way a fitting tribute to New Yorkers, who have gone through so much in the last ten years. Together, we are building a new Downtown that is an ever better place for future generations to visit, to work and to live.
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Silverstein Properties contacts: For Larry Silverstein, President & CEO, and Janno Lieber, President WTC Properties - contact Bud Perrone,email@example.com, 212-843-8068
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