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Trade Center Set to Combat Middle Age

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Author Topic: Trade Center Set to Combat Middle Age  (Read 115 times)
Kristin Moore
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« on: April 10, 2011, 02:00:16 am »

 "No matter how good-looking the building is, if we can't meet the needs of our business tenants, they won't stay," said Stanley Brezenoff, the executive director of the Port Authority. "We feel as though we're a vital complex, we're competitive now, and this is really an effort to remain competitive and strong in the future."

Though stung by the recession, the trade center is hardly in disrepair. Port Authority officials emphasize that the complex, despite some aging parts, is safe and running smoothly. And with 11 percent of its space vacant -- albeit more unleased space than it has had in years -- it is still far healthier than lower Manhattan as a whole, which has 20 percent of its commercial office space open.

The center is now such a money maker that its revenues pare much of the annual, gaping deficit for the PATH rail line, which the agency took on as part of the deal in the 1960's that allowed it to build the towers. Victim of Its Own Success

The trade center has in some ways become a victim of its own success. By reviving lower Manhattan, it helped draw in new competitors like the World Financial Center, which opened in 1985.

Like other new office developments in the region, the World Financial Center presents restless businesses with an attractive alternative to the twin towers. Add to that mix a sluggish real-estate market, and the center has little choice but to upgrade.

"Not only do businesses want a good financial deal, they want a high quality building with all the amenities," said Mr. Brezenoff, the Port Authority executive director. "I've personally gotten involved in talking with tenants in order to hold them here and attract them here. I didn't expect that, but it's necessary."

The trade center must also devise a way to attract the residents of Battery Park City, TriBeCa and even Hoboken, N.J. -- people who were not part of the neighborhood when the towers went up and who see the the 64-store shopping concourse as a congested passageway to the subways and PATH trains.

"There are cheap stores in there," said Carol Graham, who works at Kyowa/Saitama Bank on the 60th floor of Tower One. "I never shop there."
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