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WTC Site to Be Completed Within 5 Years: Silverstein

The World Trade Center site should be rebuilt by 2016 or 2017, developer Larry Silverstein told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

One World Trade Center is viewed from the 72nd floor of Four World Trade Center on September 7, 2012 in New York City.
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One World Trade Center is viewed from the 72nd floor of Four World Trade Center on September 7, 2012 in New York City.

“It’s become the passion of my business life to complete the Trade Center,” said Silverstein, president of Silverstein Properties.

“Originally, I thought it could be done by 2011. That was not meant to be, but I would say by 2016, 2017, everything should be done. All the buildings should be completed.”

What rises out of the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be unique, Silverstein said. “The buildings will be spectacular. They’re all done by iconic architects of world class quality,” he said.

Two months before the attacks, Silverstein signed a lease on the World Trade Center site. (Read More:America Pauses to Remember 9/11 on 11th Anniversary.)

The 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, has tenants for about half the building. “But not a doubt that building will lease in its entirety once it’s up and once it’s completed,” Silverstein said. “It is first class real estate and the space is good, there's no reason it shouldn't.”

Tower Four has also topped out at 72 stories and is nearly 50 percent leased, Silverstein said. The building, which is slated to be completed in the fourth quarter of next year, should see quicker lease-ups throughout next year, according to Silverstein.

Rents in downtown Manhattan still lag behind Midtown by about 20 percent, but Silverstein sees this changing. “The quality of what we're doing down here will ultimately narrow that 20 percent gap quite substantially,” he said.

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