Report WTC Progress with Architects, GMAC

October 29, 2003

According to news reports, some significant progress towards the rebuilding of the World Trade Center has been achieved on two fronts.

Architects Daniel Libeskind, whose overall design for the new WTC was accepted last March, met with David Childs, the architect selected by Larry Silverstein to oversee the design and achievement of the project. The two, who have notably different styles, have clashed over the design of the 1,176-foot high tower that will serve as a memorial to the victims of Sept.11.

At the meeting the two reportedly agreed to solve their differences and produce one tower design.

It’s currently estimated that the rebuilding will cost between $4 and $7 billion.

Progress was also apparently made in the ongoing dispute between Silverstein and GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp, the leading lender when Silverstein Properties purchased the leasehold in July 2001. GMAC filed a lawsuit alleging that insufficient funds were being put aside to assure that it would be repaid is $550 million loan.

Although insurers have so far placed around $1.9 billion in an escrow account, GMAC wants its money, and is not prepared to become involved in rebuilding the site. A conference with Judge Herman Cahn resulted in a preliminary understanding that the parties would try to work out a settlement. They are due back in court on Thursday to report any progress.

If the matter goes to trial, it would further complicate and delay the financing needed to start rebuilding the WTC.

The chief obstacle remains the bitter dispute between Silverstein, Swiss Re and other insurers over whether the loss of the twin towers constituted one or two occurrences. No progress has been reported in that lawsuit.

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