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10 Things You Didn't Know about Larry Silverstein

Larry Silverstein

Larry Silverstein is an American businessman. He is the owner of Silverstein Properties, which is involved in acquiring, developing, and managing various kinds of real estate properties. In particular, Silverstein is known for his role as the developer of the rebuilt World Trade Center, which is why interested individuals might have seen his name come up in recent times.

1. Born in Brooklyn

Silverstein has been very focused on New York City. For proof, look no further than the fact that Silverstein Properties can claim the position of the fifth largest commercial land-lord in the city, which is no mean accomplishment. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that Silverstein is a New Yorker through and through, having been born in Brooklyn before being raised in the city.

2. Had a Strong Interest in the Arts

When Silverstein was still growing up, he was fond of classical music, with the result that he played the piano. Later, he even went to the High School of Music and Art, which was a specialized high school with a strong focus on those subjects.

3. Supported By His Wife in Their Early Years

Eventually, Silverstein went to New York University. When he was in college, he spent some time working at a summer camp, which was where he met his future wife Klara. In time, Silverstein graduated from New York University in 1952 before getting married to Klara in 1956. For the first part of their marriage, he was supported by his wife who was working as a school teacher at the time, with the result that he was able to attend Brooklyn Law School.

4. Co-Founded Silverstein Properties

Silverstein co-founded Silverstein Properties in 1957 with a couple of other individuals. One was his father Harry G. Silverstein, while the other was his brother-in-law Bernard H. Mendik. As such, the original business was called Harry G. Silverstein & Sons. Silverstein and Mendik continued running the business after Silverstein's father passed away in 1966.

It wasn't until 1977 that the two went their separate ways, which was based on a couple of factors. First, Mendik divorced Silverstein's sister Annette Silverstein Mendik. Second, the two had disagreements over their strategy, with Silverstein wanting to build and Mendik wanting to buy.

5. Won a Lease for the World Trade Center

Black Monday is a term that can refer to more than a dozen different occasions. However, it refers to a very sudden and very severe stock market crash in the context of 1987. Thanks to this, New York wasn't doing so well in the 1990s, which is why George Pataki ran a successful campaign for the state's governorship by promising to cut costs.

Something that included privatizing the World Trade Center. A sale never happened because it would have been too complicated. However, a decision was made to make a 99-year lease available to interested parties. There were some serious twists and turns in the whole process, but in the end, it was Silverstein in partnership with Westfield America who walked away with the lease in July of 2001.

6. Survived September 11 By Coincidence

Silverstein has mentioned that he tended to spend his mornings in breakfast meetings with his tenants at the top of the World Trade Center North Tower. As a result, his chances of survival on September 11 would have been either nonexistent or next-to-nonexistent if he had followed his normal routine. Originally, Silverstein had indeed planned on going to one of his breakfast meetings with his tenants.

However, he was told by his wife that he had an appointment to go see a dermatologist that morning. Moreover, she insisted on him going because he had already skipped out on a similar appointment a month earlier. Something that almost certainly saved Silverstein's life.

7. Tried to Collect Double the Face Amount for His Insurance

Naturally, Silverstein had insurance for the World Trade Center. In total, 1 WTC, 2 WTC, 4 WTC, and 5 WTC had a face amount of $3.55 billion. It is interesting to note that Silverstein tried to collect double the face amount from his insurance companies on the basis that September 11 consisted of two separate occurrences rather than a single occurrence, which was possible because of uncertainties in how an occurrence should be defined.

The two sides went to court, thus resulting in a couple of trials in which nine insurers were subjected to the "two occurrences" interpretation rather than the "one occurrence" interpretation.

8. Thought that the Rebuilt World Trade Center Complex Would Be Complete By Now

It has been said that Silverstein expected that the rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex would have been completed by 2020. However, that isn't the case because 2 WTC remains incomplete at this point in time. Moreover, there is no real indication of when the rebuilding will be complete because an anchor tenant for the building pulled out.

9. Was a Developer of the Ronald Reagan Building

Although Silverstein has been focused on New York City, he has been involved in other buildings in other locations. To name an example, he was a developer of the Ronald Reagan Building, which has the distinction of being the first federal building designed with both governmental purposes and private sector purposes in mind.

10. Involved in Philanthropy

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Silverstein has been involved in various kinds of philanthropy. For example, he gave $5 million to his wife's alma mater Hunter College in 2012, which was meant as a surprise gift for her. Similarly, the two donated $5.25 million to create a scholarship for the New York University School of Medicine in the same year.

Besides this, Silverstein has also taken on various roles at various organizations that include but are not limited to New York University's Real Estate Institute, New York University's Medical Center and Health System, and the Realty Foundation.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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