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RESPONSE TO TERROR

Towers' Rebuild Goal Is 5 Years

November 22, 2001|Associated Press

NEW YORK — The 110-story towers of the World Trade Center may be replaced by buildings half as tall in as little as five years, the site's leaseholder said Wednesday after meeting with the next mayor.

Larry Silverstein, who leads a consortium that holds the $3.2-billion lease on the complex, also said the project would include a memorial for the Sept. 11 victims.

"I'm going to give you the next five, six, seven years of my life to make sure this gets done, and done to the very best of our ability to the point where we can all be very proud of it," he said.

Silverstein said it was too early to say how many towers are planned. As for their height, he said "50, 55-story towers are very much accomplishable in New York."

The plan would need to go through several steps before construction could begin. It is not clear how long it would take for decisions from the new city-state Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corp., the City Council, the mayor and the governor, among others.

Studies will be completed and presented to Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg soon, Silverstein said. He said he is sure people would want to work in the new buildings, which will offer "very affordable" rents.

The consortium is counting on insurance payments of $7.2 billion to rebuild the trade center, an amount that will be paid only if the Sept. 11 terrorism is considered as two separate events.

SR International Business Insurance Co. Ltd., a British company responsible for 22% of the $3.5 billion worth of insurance covering the trade center, says in a lawsuit that it will insist a single terrorist act destroyed the buildings. Two attacks would double the amount.

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