FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2010
REMARKS OF MAYOR BLOOMBERG AT BRIEFING ON WORLD TRADE CENTER REBUILDING AGREEMENT
The Following are Mayor Bloomberg's Remarks as Delivered
"Governor, thank you. I don't want to bore everybody with the 'thank yous' again, but I do think it is important that we acknowledge those people that made a difference because for a long time everybody thought this was never going to get done.
"But it is a phenomenally complex site. The political calculus is difficult because you have two states and the City, you have agencies, you have Federal, State and City government, you have the private sector. It is very difficult to get everybody on the same page, but I think now we really are making progress.
"So I just wanted to take a few seconds to salute those who have made contributions and can't be here, but we would not be here if it wasn't for them. And as the Governor said, that begins with the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is hard working up in Albany on the State budget. He never stopped believing that we could reach an agreement. Shelly has been an impetus behind building downtown, as you know, from day one. I talked to him today to congratulate him and thank you for his help. And he would be the first one to say Dean Fuleihan, his top person, really was the one that worked with Bob Lieber to get this deal done. Their faith has been vindicated, I think, by the patience and wisdom and skill of everybody that negotiated here. It's really paid off and that's true of someone else who unfortunately can't be here at the moment because he's on a plane coming back here, and that is Bob Lieber, but he is represented by Seth Pinky, the President of EDC.
"Bob Lieber has worked on a lot of things at the same time, but he's never stopped working on this. We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and also to the Governor's Chief of Staff Larry Schwartz, and Tim Gilchrist, his point person. And to the great new governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie and his staff. As the Governor pointed out he has only been in office for a few months but yet here we are moving ahead.
"Gary La Barbera, president of the New York Central Labor Council, never
stopped pushing us to get to this day. Tony Coscia and Chris Ward at the Port
Authority, and their entire team. You may remember that Chris was one of my
deputies. I was never happy to lose him, but now that he's at the Port and
coming through for us, I'm happy to have him there.
"Let me briefly make three quick points. First, this is great news for our city's economy, and it really will spur our continued recovery from the national recession. It means that in very short order, thousands of electricians, operating engineers, and others in our still hard-hit construction industry will be at work on the eastern portion of the World Trade Center site.
"They'll be building the underlying infrastructure of the so-called 'eastern bathtub.' This is a very complex enterprise. It is a tightly constructed puzzle where a lot of pieces have to fit together. And thankfully, New York City, as everyone knows, has the best building trades professionals in the business. And now instead of an expensive, time-consuming re-design of this intricate job, they can get right to work. And that vital economic stimulus really is an investment in our future.
"Second, this is going to further accelerate the dramatic redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. Seven and a half years ago, we laid out a vision for Lower Manhattan - a revitalized and vibrant mixed commercial and residential community. Since that time, public and private investments and actions have helped Downtown come back very impressively.
"In the past five years alone, more than 200 firms in a wide range of industries have relocated to Lower Manhattan, taking 4.4 million square feet of space. More than 12,000 housing units have been built Downtown since 2001 and Downtown's population in that time has more than doubled.
"However, the heart of Downtown is the World Trade Center site, and a stalemate on its redevelopment threatened the entire area's revival. And now that stalemate, I think it's fair to say, is ended. Now we can start to ensure that Lower Manhattan will have the modern, first-class office space today's corporate tenants need, and that's going to position New York to capitalize on the next wave of economic growth. And it's going to honor an obligation that we have to our nation and the Free World: To show that Americans will not be defeated by terrorism. Not ever.
"Third and finally as to the process that brought us to this agreement: Our position for months has been that if all of the interested parties stayed at the table there was a deal to be had. And I think that's proven to be true. It was always in everyone's interest - the developer, the Port Authority, the States of New York and New Jersey, and our City - to prevent an impasse on redeveloping the eastern portion of the World Trade Center site. And we knew that to reach an agreement, everyone would have to make a stretch. And I'm happy to say that everyone did.
"We're also confident that this agreement is going to turn out to benefit
everyone in the end. Reaching it meant getting everyone to the negotiating table
in the first place, and it was not quite a year ago that we brought all parties
together at Gracie Mansion and they agreed to make it work. And they did it. It
meant stopping the clock and continuing to talk past the original March 12th
deadline, and I want to thank Larry and the Port Authority for agreeing to that.
It meant Larry putting more skin in the game, as they call it, more of his
private capital into this deal.
"This is the right outcome for this site. And it's the right outcome for New Yorkers, who deserve to see this hole in the heart of our city healed at last."
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
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