A soaring skyscraper planned for the World Trade Center site may shrink to a measley seven stories.
Developer Larry Silverstein’s 3 World Trade Center office tower was supposed to rise to 80 stories — but he’s planning to turn the tower into a teeny low-rise if he can’t find a big-time tenant, Crain’s New York reported.
The building is under construction and was supposed to be done by 2015, but Silverstein has had no luck landing a major company to fill the office space — and tweaks have already been made to allow the tower to be capped by the end of the year at less than a tenth of its intended size.
The stunted tower would be filled up with retail stores, according to Crain’s.
New Yorkers around the site Sunday said it would be an embarrassment if the site couldn’t support a building of suitable stature.
“It needs to be built,” said Celida Martinez, 48, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. “Why would he start a project he can’t finish? . . . He needs to pick up the slack and do what he said he was going to do.
Silverstein could still go forward with the 80-story tower if he signs tenants by the end of the year. “We’re optimistic that they’ll get it done,” said a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg.
If the building is capped, the cap could be removed in the future to build higher.
Analysts said the tower’s failure to rise could be blamed on the slow commercial real estate market. Most big firms are saving cash by staying put in their current digs.
“The willingness of large-scale tenants to commit in this environment is limited because companies don’t want to go out and spend a lot of money,” Peter Hennessy, president of commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley’s New York Tristate Region, told Crain’s. “It’s not the building; it’s the market.”
Conde Nast signed on as the major tenant for 1 World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, but that deal was heavily subsidized. Prospects are tougher for 3 World Trade Center.
A complex $1.6 billion deal struck in 2010 between Silverstein and the Port Authority required him to ink lease deals for almost 20% of the building in order to get public financing for Tower 3.