NEW YORK CITY-Congress passed legislation that provides for a five-year extension of the $8-billion Liberty Bond program. The program is part of the $21-billion package of spending and tax provisions that New York received in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The program would have expired at the end of this year if the extension was not approved.

“This program has been a critical tool in the rebuilding effort,” says Gov. George Pataki. “The approval of this extension will ensure that we can continue to draw upon these vital resources and fully realize our vision for the city.”

The extension was included as part of the 2005 federal budget presented by President George W. Bush. The extension was proposed nearly a year ago at the request of Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The duo then actively worked with Congressional leaders to turn the proposed extension into a reality.

Projects supported by Liberty Bond financing include the $225-million, 51-story residential development at 2 Gold St. and the $82-million development at 90 Washington St. that is expected to have 368 studio and 30 one-bedroom apartments. Financing in the amount of $145.2 million was approved for 63 Wall St., a 410,000-sf commercial office building being converted to 476 residential rental apartments. Also in the works is the $1-billion inducement for Goldman Sachs headquarters project in Lower Manhattan.

Though many Liberty Bond projects are concentrated in the Downtown area, Bank of America and the Durst Organization received approval for the now under-construction 2.1-million-sf tower at One Bryant Park in Midtown that will be the bank’s new home.

“The advance refunding authority has allowed the state and city to refinance existing bonds at lower interest rates. We will continue to invest these resources wisely as we look to bring new jobs and commerce back to Lower Manhattan,” Pataki concludes.

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