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NEW YORK CITY-The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it has turned over the site for Tower 2 at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan to Silverstein Properties, Inc. According to the Port, Monday’s turnover completes its obligations under the 2006 Master Development Agreement, or MDA, since the agency already turned over the sites for Towers 3 and 4.

With that, the public agency will no longer have to pay SPI $300,000 a day for being late on its delivery of a ‘construction ready’ site. Just last week, at its monthly board meeting, where the Port announced it had awarded a $180 million contract to low bidder Tutor-Perini Corp., responding to GlobeSt.com’s inquiry, Port executive director Chris Ward says, “we’ve been aggressively pursuing the complete turnover of the three sites to Mr. Silverstein.” Ward adds “we expect to complete that full turnover in the next few days.”

When asked whether Ward thought Mr. Silverstein would accept the turnover, as well as Port’s assertion that once the turnover’s complete, SPI is then obligated to build its three towers by 2014 or lose its lease, Ward said “we are hopeful.”

He added “we’ve made much progress, we hope this will be a mutually agreeable turnover,” but “failure to reach a mutual agreement will require us to go back to arbitration and seek their determination that we have in fact, fully met our turnover obligations.”

With turnover obligations satisfied, the Port says it will continue its “daily and visible progress building the sites’ public projects, including the 9/11 Memorial, the WTC Transportation Hub, Vehicle Security Center, One World Trade Center, the retail components and other public infrastructure.

A statement from SPI appeared to indicate the developer is none to happy with what it calls a 419-day delay at the Tower 2 site. SPI president Janno Lieber said in a statement that “our attention must turn to the Port Authority’s other major infrastructure obligations, which must be completed as a precondition for construction, opening and operation of the Memorial, the office towers, the retail and the performing arts center.” Liber adds “two government reports indicate these projects are now years behind the already-delayed schedule the Port Authority announced only ten months ago.”

Lieber’s statement continues the verbal tit-for-tat that was further inflamed by a Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center report leaked two weeks ago that said the 9/11 memorial would probably not be done until 2013, or two years beyond the 10-year anniversary of the event.

A source familiar with SPI tells GlobeSt.com that while the turnover does start the clock ticking for the developer to build the towers, the two disputing interests are headed for further arbitration, adding “the Port has admitted it would be years behind in the infrastructure, saying that SPI has to get [the] buildings done in 2013 is silly.”

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