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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-This past Friday, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told attendees at a Downtown Lower Manhattan Association breakfast that it was time for a leadership summit on the World Trade Center’s Reconstruction, saying at least two towers should be built at the site and that all involved parties should share risk. Parties involved include New York Governor David Patterson, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Port Authority chief Chris Ward and developer Larry Silverstein as well as other stakeholders.

Almost immediately following Silver’s remarks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued the invitation to the involved parties to meet at Gracie Mansion this week to find a solution to the increasingly contentious impasse between Silverstein and the Port Authority. Published reports say the authority wants to drastically scale back development at the 16-acre Ground Zero site.

In a statement, Silverstein’s World Trade Center Properties said it welcomed Mr. Silver’s urging that two towers should be built, while endorsing the need for a meeting to assure continued progress on the site. Meanwhile the Port Authority said in its statement that it appreciated Silver’s remarks that “the private developer, not just the public, should share that risk.”

Silverstein and the Port Authority have been in disagreement over how to finance the construction of skyscrapers Silverstein is meant to build under a 2006 agreement. Acknowledging the Port Authority’s financing concerns, Silver said on Friday that “we cannot expect taxpayers to foot the entire cost of all we want and need to build.”

But Silver’s remarks went beyond the sandbox of financial conflicts that have consumed the emotionally charged site’s reconstruction, saying he was in fact “fed up with the stalling” and “exasperated by the current state of the World Trade Center project” a site where “nearly 3,000 human beings–many of them New Yorkers–lost or gave their lives.”

According to the transcript of Silver’s remarks, the speaker said “frankly, when it comes to Ground Zero and the future of Lower Manhattan, there should be no sides.” Acknowledging that mistakes had been made with unrealistic deadlines and that it had taken time to bring together the stakeholders and open lines of communication, Silver called the delays an “embarrassment” to the city, state and nation.

A spokesman for Silver tells GlobeSt.com that the speaker had been in private conversations with the different parties involved, urging them to sit down at the table, and that these are the people–Paterson, Bloomberg, Corzine, Silverstein and Ward–who can make a difference.

[IMGCAP(2)]In his Friday statement, the Mayor warned against thinking in the short term and curtailing development plans “especially for major long term projects. Instead, the mayor implored that compromise see fruition between the private and public sectors adding “this is precisely the time we need to reaffirm our commitments to the future of our city.”

A spokesman for Bloomberg tells GlobeSt.com that he wants to help break the current impasse. “He wants to make sure they’re talking,” says the spokesman.”The mayor is a firm believer that Lower Manhattan is going to come back and we need to invest, and there are billions of dollars being invested now downtown, but, he wants to make sure we continue to see that,” says the spokesperson.

Drawing on history, Silver told the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association breakfast that former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, along with brother David, and the Downtown Association, led the effort to build the original World Trade Center even though demand for office space in Manhattan was weak.

As Angus K. Gillespie’s book titled Twin Towers: Life of New York City’s World Trade Center points out, as plans for the site became more clear in the 1960′s, private real estate developers and members of the Real Estate Board of New York raised concerns about the ‘much subsidized’ office space going on an open market that had a glut of vacancies.

Bloomberg’s spokesperson also acknowledged historical comparisons noting that a number of the city’s real estate crown jewels were built during times of economic adversity. After all, it was in 1928 that John D. Rockefeller leased space in Midtown from Columbia University, beginning development one year later in the midst of the Great Depression. Writer David Gerard wrote in a 1995 City Journal article titled “The Triumph of Rockefeller Center, “the story of the center’s inception and construction is high drama–a saga of financial boom and bust, critical derision and splendid perseverance.”

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