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NEW YORK CITY-Delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s BuildingsNY exposition at Jacob Javits Convention Center, Silverstein Properties chief Larry Silverstein outlined plans for the World Trade Center site. He called Governor Pataki’s recent time schedule announcement a “challenging timeframe,” but anticipates two and a half million sf of class A office space will be available by 2008. Late Wednesday, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York denounced recent attempts to alter the approved master plan.

Plans for the site include a memorial, commemorative museum and a sophisticated transit system with “people movers” and airport connections. “This will not just be a replacement of what was, but a whole new system,” Silverstein said. He also expects there to be a performing arts center and 600,000 sf of retail space.

He said one additional building would be constructed per year through 2012 when site completion is expected. However, he noted the additional buildings would be constructed only if demand requires it. Silverstein, who signed leases on the WTC properties just weeks before Sept. 11, said “he has not yet been determined” whether approved site plan designer Daniel Libeskind would design the 1,776-ft Freedom Tower. Silverstein has hired his own team of architects.

The Alliance denounced what it called “closed-door efforts to dramatically alter the recently-selected master plan.” The advocacy group noted that Silverstein has “taken great liberties” with the plan including proposing to substantially alter the plan by adding an additional office tower and “distancing himself from Libeskind’s vision.”

“The Civic Alliance will not sit idly by while the heart of this visionary master plan is pulled apart by private interests,” says Robert D. Yaro, chair of the alliance and president of the regional plan association.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has set July 22 as the date for oral argument on Silverstein Properties appeal from Judge John S. Martin Jr.’s ruling that a jury would have to decide whether the deliberate crashes of two planes into the Twin Towers constitute one or two “occurrences” for purposes of the $3.55 billion “per occurrence” insurance program on portions of the complex (see earlier story). Silverstein said he is “totally confident” a three-judge panel will rule in his favor in this “massive litigation.” He said the anticipated $6.7 billion in insurance proceeds will rebuild the site and “do a magnificent job and all will be done to the highest levels of safety. We’ll look back 10 years from now with a deep sense of pride.”

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