May 23, 2008

Merrill Lynch Gives Larry Another Break

Is it karma, a charmed life, or just amazingly ruthless power wielding that has put Larry Silverstein back in the perfect position to protect his interests? And with plenty of extra time to get all his balls lined up. Here's the news from Crain's Business News:
Merrill Lynch renews talks for move to WTC
Merrill reopened talks with developer Larry Silverstein to move into Tower 3; Mr. Silverstein received a six-month extension to complete the tower by August 2012.
May 22. 2008 10:57AM By: Theresa Agovino
Merrill Lynch & Co. is negotiating with developer Larry Silverstein to move into one of the office towers to be built on the World Trade Center site. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday paved the way for talks to continue when it voted to grant Mr. Silverstein a six-month extension so he can delay completing construction of the building, known as Tower 3, until August 2012. Mr. Silverstein requested the extension so he will have time to redesign the building to accommodate the large trading floor Merrill Lynch requires. Under an agreement Mr. Silverstein reached in 2006 with the site’s landlord, the Port Authority, he is supposed to deliver the completed buildings by February 2012.
“While we fully expect to complete World Trade Tower 3 in 2012, the six-month schedule adjustments approved today by the Port Authority clearly makes sense,” said World Trade Center Properties president Jano Lieber in a statement. “This extension gives us the time to design and construct a modified building foundation that could accommodate Merrill’s specialized requirements.”
If Merrill Lynch opts to move to Tower 3 it would be an enormous boost for the site, which has yet to attract many private sector tenants. Merrill Lynch is currently located at the World Financial Center, where its lease expires in 2013. A spokeswoman for Brookfield Properties, which owns the World Financial Center, says it is still negotiating a five-year extension with Merrill.
Last year, Merrill Lynch came very close to signing a deal to move its headquarters to the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown. However, the plan was shelved after its major proponent, former Chief Executive Stanley O’Neal, left the firm amid massive losses stemming from the credit crunch.
I wonder how much tax money will be "forgiven" for Larry to pull this swift move? The rich get richer...

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