GROUND ZERO REBUILD COST TO HIT $11B
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
January 30, 2004 -- Rebuilding the office and retail space at the World Trade Center will cost close to $7.5 billion — part of a total Ground Zero reconstruction tab of more than $11 billion, The Post has learned.
The detailed cost estimate, prepared for WTC developer Larry Silverstein by Tishman Construction, puts the staggering expense of downtown rebuilding into stark relief amid questions about where the money will come from.
Silverstein's legal fight with his WTC insurers goes to trial next month — and he has repeatedly said the project hinges on his ability to convince a federal jury that Sept. 11 constituted two separate attacks, one on each tower. He says that should bring him a double insurance payout of close to $7 billion.
Preliminary rulings in the case have gone against him.
"Does anybody have any idea where the money's coming from, except Larry's litigation?" asked a source.
The construction estimate, obtained by The Post, sets the cost of building the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower at $1.6 billion.
Construction costs for the 10 million square feet of office space, including the tower, as well as 800,000 square feet of retail space plus infrastructure and below-ground work, are estimated to reach $7.4 to $7.8 billion.
But when Silverstein's rent payments to the Port Authority and huge legal costs are added in, the construction figure balloons "to above $9 billion," the developer said in a letter accompanying the estimate.
The estimate was delivered this week to the PA, which owns Ground Zero and will be will be responsible for a large chunk of the cost.
The analysis does not include other major expenses, such as the PATH rail hub and the memorial, which sources said raised the overall WTC total to more than $11 billion.