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Work on final WTC tower may start without signed tenant

New York

SILVERSTEIN Properties, the developer that rebuilt lower Manhattan after the destruction of the twin towers in the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, may begin work on its final World Trade Center skyscraper before signing a lease for the building.

The firm might build 2 World Trade Center "on spec", or without a committed tenant, chairman Larry Silverstein said in an interview.

The building's foundation was started, with no further work done because the developer had not found a company to anchor the space. But a stronger US economy and leasing progress at neighbouring towers may change those plans, he said.

"I think we're in an increasingly good spot, in a good position, to do that," said the 87-year-old developer, who founded Silverstein Properties in 1957.

"For all intents and purposes, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start on Tower 2 because it won't be finished until about 2022 or 2023."

The 2.8 million-square-foot office building, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, will be the last of Silverstein's four skyscrapers at the downtown site. It marks the culmination of the Financial District redevelopment undertaken by Silverstein, which also builtTowers 3, 4 and 7.

Finding a primary tenant for 2 World Trade Center has proven challenging, with competition from the new Hudson Yards development on the west side and hesitance among some firms to move all the way downtown. BLOOMBERG