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WTC Tower Still Lacking Anchor Tenant 15 Years After Plans Were Made

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WTC Tower Still Lacking Anchor Tenant 15 Years After Plans Were Made

By:  Hellen Zaboulani  

More than two decades after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the World Trade Center still remains far from complete.

As reported by the NY Post, last week Brookfield and Silverstein Properties got a green light for their plan to construct a supertall, mostly residential tower at Five World Trade Center.  Besides for that, however, the office skyscraper at Two World Trade Center, is still lacking an all-important anchor tenant—fifteen years after plans were made.  The planned 82-story building at 2 WTC site, also known as 200 Greenwich Street, would finally complete the tower quartet at “Ground Zero”.  The 1,345 feet  planned building had its foundation work completed in 2013.  The 2 WTC building has undergone several major design changes, including by architects Foster + Partners, which were called in by Silverstein to replace plans by Bjarke Ingels’ firm, BIG.  The building still doesn’t have an anchor tenant though—after a deal with News Corp, parent of the New York Post, and talks with Deutsche Bank, both fell through.

On Friday, a Silverstein spokesman said, “We are actively looking for an anchor tenant for 2 WTC and are optimistic we will find one.”  Led by Larry Silverstein, the real estate developer, draws confidence from success at the rest of the 16-acre WTC.  The developer’s 3 WTC and 4 WTC are 90 percent and 100 percent leased respectively, per the Post. The Durst Organization and the Port Authority’s 104-floor tower, known as 1 WTC, is also almost completely occupied.

In January 2020, Mr. Silverstein had told the Post during an interview discussing the possibility of a fifth tower—namely 5 WTC, that, ”What’s closest to my heart is Tower Two.” He had said, “With the level of lease-up activity at Tower Three, my hunch is it won’t be terribly long before an announcement comes up with respect to Tower Two.” It was not long after though, that the COVID-19 pandemic struck, putting a heavy damper on commercial real estate and on the second tallest of the WTC towers.

To be sure, Five World Trade still faces obstacles of its own, despite last week’s approval.  Critics, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio and several elected officials, are demanding that the entire residential portion —roughly 1,200 planned apartments — be used as “affordable” housing.  Such a requirement would leave developers at a heavy loss and would leave the government on the hook to subsidize another $500 million for the project.  The 900-foot tower would cost an estimated $1.2 billion, and the developer had shared last October that with that money about four times as many affordable units could be built in a less expensive area.

Currently, plans for the building call for 25 percent of the units to be set aside for lower income tenants—who earn between 40% and 80% of the Area Median Income. The matter is still to be discussed at several planned public hearings. 5 WTC, also known as 130 Liberty Street, had originally been a black steel-framed nine-story low-rise office building.  The state controlled WTC board approved an override of city zoning rules, allowing for a bigger tower.


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