Port Authority’s New Head to Oversee Massive NYC Projects

The soon-to-be-named new head of New York and New Jersey’s port agency will be charged with guiding the World Trade Center redevelopment and other high-profile projects that will shape the region’s real estate market for years to come. Next week, Gov. David Paterson (pictured) is expected to appoint a successor to Anthony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. On Thursday Shorris confirmed rumors that his departure is imminent. He will be the latest top executive Paterson has replaced since taking over for Elliott Spitzer, who quit last month in the wake of a prostitution scandal.  In a statement, Paterson lauded Shorris’ “significant accomplishments” during his fifteen months as head of the bi-state agency. But in an April 8 speech to the Association for a Better New York, the governor indicated that he sees room for improvement in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center. “We’ve got to go back and revisit the issue at Ground Zero, where as we stand right now, it will be September 11, 2011 before anything is actually built, and estimates are that that may be two or three years off,” Paterson said.  “We can do better than that because Ground Zero should always be a symbol of our resilience and an engine of our downtown economy.” Shorris’ successor will oversee the World Trade Center redevelopment at a time when the work encounters continuous milestones and challenges. In February, six weeks behind schedule, the Port Authority turned over the sites for Towers 3 and 4 to Silverstein Properties Inc. Silverstein will start construction this year on a 2.5 million-square foot office tower at 175 Greenwich St. and a 2.3 million-square-foot tower at 150 Greenwich Street.  Because of the financial markets meltdown, the Port Authority’s new executive director will have to contend with uncertainty over another proposed World Trade Center project. Last year the agency struck a deal with JPMorgan Chase to build a $2 billion office tower at the southern edge of the World Trade Center. The building was expected to rise on the current site of the Deutsche Bank building, which was damaged beyond repair in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and is slated for demolition. JPMorgan now plans to move its investment banking headquarters to Bear, Stearns & Co.’s building at 383 Madison Ave. as part of the merger of the two Wall Street giants.  Shorris’ successor may also be expected to rescue another of New York City’s biggest planned developments–the $3 billion Moynihan Station transit hub in Midtown Manhattan. Plans by Vornado Realty Trust and The Related Cos. to develop took a possibly fatal blow last month when Cablevision Corp. announced that it would renovate Madison Square Garden rather than demolishing it and building a new arena one block west. That would prevent Vornado and Related from building the new rail hub on the Madison Square Garden site. But Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority, has said that the agency could step in to jump-start the stalled project and close a multibillion-dollar funding gap.