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Anchin Forum Inspires More Than Gotham

Anchin Forum Inspires More Than Gotham

Morning metropolis: View uptown from 7 WTC earlier this month in Lower Manhattan.  (Image from Hard Hat Hub.)

Morning metropolis: View uptown from 7 WTC earlier this month in Lower Manhattan.  (Image from Hard Hat Hub.)

by ROB McMANAMY | Feb 23, 2016

While the nation  and much of the world  watches slack-jawed as a New York real estate magnate continues to lead U.S. presidential polls, hundreds of his former colleagues and rivals gathered in Lower Manhattan earlier this month for a reality check. What they found, surprisingly enough, amid all the predictable frustrations over property taxes, development fees, and perceived regulatory overreach, was an inspiring call for quality, delivered by one of their own.

"I have learned... that it makes all the difference in the world to do first-class architecture because it will make all the difference in the world to prospective users," said 2 World Trade Center (2WTC) developer Larry Silverstein, 84, chair of Silverstein Properties and keynote at the one-day Anchin Construction & Development Forum, held Feb 11 at the New York Academy of Sciences in 7 WTC. Most famously, he was also the owner of the WTC twin towers on 9/11. Today, he expects the distinctive 2WTC stair-step design, created by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (BIG), to become reality in 2020.

It makes all the difference in the world to do first-class architecture because it will make all the difference in the world to prospective users
— Larry Silverstein, WTC owner
Silvertsein: At left, the stepped 7 WTC design.

Silvertsein: At left, the stepped 7 WTC design.

Speaking onstage with moderator Rosemary Scanlon, former dean of NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, Silverstein said that he had regretted his own short-sighted decisions as owner in influencing the design of the building in which the forum was taking place. “It was devoid of architectural quality, and amassed to a bulk of heaviness that was not what I really aspired to accomplish here,” he said candidly. “But I was intent on building as inexpensive as I could, and so that’s what we did.”

Silverstein made his remarks at a packed one-day conference that featured 40 speakers, 400-plus attendees from more than 200 firms, and 20 event sponsors, including BuiltWorlds, which served as media partner. Real estate accountants and advisors Anchin, Block & Anchin hosted the forum.

“I was truly inspired by the keynote dialogue,” said BuiltWorlds co-founder Matt Abeles. “Silverstein has been through so much, and his talk made a lifetime of achievements and hard work just seem so real and achievable, if you put your heart into it. That message really echoed the idea of opportunity in America, I thought.”

Of course, Abeles was not alone in that assessment. And attendees hope to draw on that inspiration to tackle more mundane topics like those featured in separate panels with titles like “The Costs are Too Damn High”, and “How to Mitigate Construction Risks.”

For more on the event, speakers, and panel topics, click here.

Two visions of 2WTC: At left, Sir Norman Foster's plan for the site eventually gave way to BIG's staggered greenery.

Two visions of 2WTC: At left, Sir Norman Foster's plan for the site eventually gave way to BIG's staggered greenery.

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