Latest Puzzle Piece at Ground Zero: A ‘Podium’
A tough Manhattan office market is holding a planned 80-story World Trade Center tower to eight stories, as the Journal reports, since developer Larry Silverstein hasn’t been able to find a tenant for his 3 World Trade Center.
But work continues on the base of the tower, and until a tenant is found, the plan is to complete the eight-story “podium” of the tower over the next couple years, finishing it with glass windows and all, perhaps for some retail use.
Of course, there’s still a fair bit of time before a completed podium becomes a reality, as the hunt for tenants continues. Mr. Silverstein’s company, Silverstein Properties, doesn’t have to start building a “cap” to the podium until a year before the estimated completion of the neighboring PATH station — late 2013 at the earliest.
But if it does happen, why build a podium?
The structure holds some mechanical equipment necessary for the rest of the interconnected World Trade Center site. But it also is meant to both set the stage to continue construction of the tower overhead when demand warrants, and to fill out the rebuilding site.
The whole plan came about from a 2010 deal between Mr. Silverstein and a set of government agencies, which agreed to a $600 million financial support deal for his 3 World Trade, but only if there was some private sector demand to limit their risk.
Under the deal, Mr. Silverstein would have to land a tenant of at least 400,000 square feet, and raise $300 million in junior debt or equity financing. Once those conditions are satisfied, work can go on above eight stories.