This weekend's Financial Times contained an absolutely mammoth article about Larry Silverstein, and the developer, who took over a 99-year lease on the Twin Towers a scant two months before they were brought down, could not have hoped for a more glowing profile.
He is simultaneously developing three of the five skyscrapers at Ground Zero, and his trio of eminent architects - Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki - are working at a blistering pace to meet his tight deadlines. His position as the World Trade Center's main developer is at last secure, after an extraordinary six years in which he fought some of the world's largest insurance companies, the New York Police Department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the governor of New York, City Hall, headstrong architects and widespread public doubts about his motivations.
He fought hard, and he won. And now he's not wasting time.
There's a whole lot of stuff in here, most of it about real estate and the internecine squabbling that occurred between various architects (remember Danny Libeskind?) and politicians (remember George Pataki?) in the wake of the attacks. We asked Philip Nobel—author of Sixteen Acres: Architecture and the Outrageous Struggle for the Future of Ground Zero—to assess the assessment. Philip says via email:
Silverstein has fought like hell for years to prove what a lot of people knew/feared from the beginning: that his lease, 580 pages of double-spaced 12-point Times Roman, was more durable than his buildings. So it's great to see the stubborn developer getting the pop-hero treatment he's earned, complete with mentions of shirt choice, footwear and skin care. His "let's get on with it" (the article's last line) should be the "let's roll" of 2007. Where's Pataki? Danny who? Larry won.
Well, someone's probably been taken for a ride.