Delays at ground zero could be getting very expensive, with Mayor Bloomberg saying yesterday that the city would avoid paying penalties for development delays at the former World Trade Center site, but leaving open the possibility that the state could owe Goldman Sachs tens of millions of dollars.
The Daily News reported yesterday that Goldman Sachs could be refunded up to $321 million from the city and state for construction delays at the World Trade Center site, but Mr. Bloomberg said the city's plans to provide security to Lower Manhattan is on schedule.
"The part that we have to do, we will deliver on time, and there should not be a penalty, and I think that Goldman will agree with that. I don't see any reason why it won't be completed on time," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday.
"We committed to have security in Lower Manhattan in place by the end of 2009, and we are on schedule to do that," Mr. Bloomberg said.
The terms of a deal struck under Governor Pataki and later approved by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005 require the city and state to pay penalties to Goldman Sachs if portions of the ground zero redevelopment are not completed by next year. At the time, Goldman Sachs was seeking assurances from the city and state prior to committing to building its $2.4 billion headquarters across from the World Trade Center site on West Street. The city and the state were then trying to keep Goldman Sachs from moving its headquarters from Manhattan.
"Had Goldman chose to move it would've been disastrous for Lower Manhattan," Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday, defending the deal.
In return for constructing its 43-story office building for 9,000 employees in Lower Manhattan, Goldman Sachs was permitted to put $161 million it owed in rent and $160 million in sales taxes into escrow accounts, all of which would be refunded if certain construction deadlines were not met, according to the Daily News.
A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Steve Sigmund, declined to comment on the agreement, which he said the Port Authority was not involved in. "The timeline for rebuilding the World Trade Center is the same today as it was yesterday, and every part of the site is moving forward and under construction since the Port Authority took the lead on construction in 2006," he said.