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Comments by:Ken KrasnowEVP, Director of Tri-State BrokerageTrammell Crow Co.New York, NY

It should come as no surprise that 76% of the respondents to last week’s Feedback Poll say that they’re not happy with the progress made at Ground Zero to date. Little wonder. As we approach the fifth anniversary of the attacks, there’s little more to show than a swept-up hole in the ground. But there are New Yorkers who can look beyond the crater, and short of talking with WTC players–still politically watchful of statements they make to the press–there are those who can see the good along with the bad. One of those is Ken Krasnow, and he shares his frank opinion of what has gone wrong and, somewhat counter-culturally, what is going right.

“As a typical New Yorker, I’m not satisfied and I’d click no on the survey. In a perfect world, I would have loved the buildings there and ready today, and it took longer by a couple of years than everyone would have liked. But Downtown’s progress overall and the way the trade center site is positioned now is extremely encouraging, and the markets are reacting to that. Better late than never.

“If we had waited much longer, we would have missed this up-tick in the market. If you look at the years from 1995 to 2000, we had a vacancy rate that went from roughly 20% to less than 5%, and we’re poised to go through that same kind of growth now, and Downtown has to be positioned to capture that growth. Now that most of the obstacles in terms of rebuilding and the memorial have been put behind us we’re positioned to capture that growth.

“Yes, there was a lot of stumbling around, no question, and it impeded progress. Midtown has gone through a remarkable growth spurt over the past few years, primarily because Downtown wasn’t an option. There was uncertainty and a lack of clarity post-9/11, despite the fact that in the days immediately after, everyone was reading from the same page and we weren’t going to let our own personal issues get in the way.

“Unfortunately, that’s not what transpired. But although it took longer, Downtown now has a clear plan, and all it took was a clarity of vision.”

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