NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2005


Silver Announces Legislative Agreement
on Lower Manhattan "Marshall Plan"

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced a major legislative agreement with Governor George Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on a comprehensive plan that will fulfill the commitment made nearly four years ago, following the terrorist attacks to rebuild Lower Manhattan.

"This Lower Manhattan 'Marshall Plan' agreement marks a dramatic and long overdue step toward fulfilling our moral obligation to rebuild Ground Zero in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks," said Silver. "This comprehensive plan contains significant incentives that will promote faster economic growth and revitalize our unique Lower Manhattan community."

According to Silver, the four-way legislative agreement builds on a plan that he presented in May during a speech to the Association for a Better New York (ABNY).

"Lower Manhattan has been the gateway to the American dream for countless generations of immigrants. At the same time, as the business and financial capital of the world, it has contributed enormously to our nation's unparalleled, historic prosperity," Silver said. "Therefore, it is appropriate and necessary for us to enact this plan that befits this community's heritage, and worthy of the heroic sacrifices of the rescuers and the extraordinary efforts of the recovery and clean-up workers in the wake of the attacks."

The agreed upon legislation calls for initiatives to promote Lower Manhattan commercial space occupancy, including a $5-per-square-foot incentive for the first 750,000 square feet of commercial space leased anywhere on the World Trade Center site and a $3.80-per-square foot incentive for the first 750,000 square feet of commercial space leased at World Trade Center Seven. In addition, developer Larry Silverstein will have to match these incentives.

Other provisions of the bill (A.9010) would:

  • permanently eliminate the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) for all Ground Zero tenants and a five-year exemption of the CRT for all of Lower Manhattan;
  • modify the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP) to make businesses relocating to Lower Manhattan eligible for the tax credits, while the benefit for businesses leaving Lower Manhattan will be at the discretion of the city;
  • provide sales tax exemptions for office furniture and equipment for businesses leasing space at the World Trade Center site;
  • provide a sales tax exemption for build out costs, including structural and interior modifications for businesses leasing space at the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan; and
  • eliminate tax incentives that encourage conversion before June 30, 2006 of viable commercial buildings for residential or mixed-use.

"By honoring the promises we made nearly four years ago, we are rekindling the patriotic fervor in New York and restoring the 'can do' spirit that is New York," said Silver. "I applaud the governor, the Senate and the mayor in coming together to join me in honoring this, our patriotic duty and our moral obligation to rebuild the Lower Manhattan community."

In addition to the legislation, a four-way agreement has been reached to dedicate the remaining liberty funds totaling $3.5 billion for use in Lower Manhattan, with a priority at Ground Zero. Other overall goals and priorities identified by Silver for the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan are reconstructing the Church Street corridor and constructing a rail link connecting Lower Manhattan to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road.

Although not included in the legislative agreement, Silver also renewed his call for the building of a state office building at Ground Zero, greater commitment from the Port Authority and a full-accounting of all state spending associated with rebuilding efforts.

Silver noted that the new plan builds on other recently announced Lower Manhattan initiatives, including:

  • creation of a Chinatown Empire Zone;
  • creation of a wireless communications network to attract and retain tenants; and
  • lower energy costs through the renewal of Lower Manhattan Energy Program (LMEP), which provides for reductions in electricity delivery costs and for the allocation of 80 megawatts in low-cost economic-development power previously assigned for use at the World Trade Center, as the current contracts for that power expire.