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NEW YORK CITY-The rebuilding of the World Trade Center has become “the passion of my life,” said master leaseholder Larry Silverstein while addressing the New York University Real Estate Institute’s 37th Annual Conference on Capital Markets and Pension Fund Investments in Real Estate. “To steer your craft through very turbulent waters, your job becomes 24/7. It never stops.”

Silverstein expects to make a few announcements regarding the rebuilding process over the next few months. He said an architect will be named for Tower 2, the 2.4 million-sf 65-story building that will be the next to go up after the 1,776-ft. Freedom Tower. Among the finalists are Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki and Jean Nouvel.

The first building to come on line will be 7 World Trade Center and CB Richard Ellis is handling the leasing effort for the 1.7 million-sf space. “A number of very active negotiations are ongoing,” said Silverstein. “We’ll announce a number of contracts in the near future. And he said a number of foreign companies have expressed interest in the Freedom Tower, which he called “a new icon of the skyline.”

On Monday, a jury found that said the destruction of the World Trade Center constituted two occurrences for insurance purposes. That decision could mean billions more in funding to go toward the rebuilding process, however Silverstein emphasized the important role Liberty Bond funding will play. “Monies are absolutely essential. We will still need Liberty Bond financing. It will be absolutely critical to get it rebuilt.”

In June, GlobeSt.com reported that during in a series of City Council hearings on funding for Lower Manhattan redevelopment, John Lieber, senior vice president of World Trade Center LLC, a Silverstein Properties company, issued a call that the funds remaining in the Liberty Bond pool should be allocated and preserved for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. It is anticipated that approximately $3.5 billion has not yet been earmarked for specific projects.

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