Should the World Trade Center be Rebuilt?

After years of debate and negotiation, the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site finally appears to be going forward. But there is considerable doubt as to its economic viability, writes Eliot Brown.

Brown points out that the original WTC took decades to prove viable, and only because of enormous public subsidies. Now the new deal to redevelop the site is also set to put perhaps billions of dollars of public money behind the project -- and without any real demand for vast amount of office space it will create.

"A yearlong battle over the World Trade Center site between private developer Larry Silverstein, the Port Authority and the city seems to be ending...While the details are still under discussion and talks could yet break down, it would put hundreds of millions, if not billions, of additional public dollars at risk, as some combination of the Port Authority, the city and the state would likely back the financing on the bulk of the $4 billion–plus cost of the two privately built towers.

[N]early 7 million square feet, or two and a half Empire State Buildings, [would be] constructed within the span of a few years on one site-all with only a single private tenant in place, China-based Beijing Vantone, for a relatively trivial 190,000 square feet, or six floors."

Full Story: The Business of Ground Zero

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