At almost 91.5 years of age, Larry Silverstein is one of New York’s premier real estate investors and developers. Well known today throughout the world as the owner of the World Trade Center, Mr. Silverstein has been a notable Manhattan real estate developer for over 50 years. Today, he is the chairman of his company, Silverstein Properties.
Born during the great depression, Larry started from humble beginnings in New York where he would grow up. After obtaining his college degree at NYU, he would marry his wife Klara. Together, they would raise three children.
Son of a leasing broker, Larry was exposed to the business at a young age. With the demands of having to support a family, he took an entrepreneurial leap with his father from brokerage to commercial real estate development and investment.
The risk paid off and after having delivered returns to his fellow investors, more projects ensued. His journey in real estate continued as he acquired, developed, rehabilitated and re-positioned commercial properties in Manhattan entirely on spec.
Born in 1931, Larry Silverstein is the son of Harry Silverstein who was a classically trained pianist, but a commercial leasing broker by trade. Larry was raised and educated in New York. Larry and his sister grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood until moving to the Washington Heights area.
As his father was a classically trained pianist, Larry and his sister would attend the High School of Music and Art. Upon finishing high school, he continued his studies obtaining an undergraduate degree from New York University (NYU). After his college degree, Larry also attended law classes in the mornings at Brooklyn Law School while he worked in the afternoons as a leasing broker.
In 1951, Larry would attend camp where he was tasked to wash the dishes. His boss in the kitchen was a young woman named Klara. After an invitation by her parents for dinner, the two would begin dating and eventually marry. They would have three children together.
The path to the World Trade Center began in 1980 when the Port Authority offered the keystone site up for bid. Larry Silverstein would win the bid to lease the site upon which he would build 7 World Trade Center. Initially engineered for a 25,000 square foot floor plate, Mr. Silverstein knew the local tenants were attracted to larger floor plates that had twice as much square footage.
Larry Silverstein would build 7 World Trade Center on spec with the larger floor plates desired by the larger tenants in the area. He was successful in leasing 1,000,000 square feet of space to Salomon Brothers. Equally important, he now had experience dealing with the Port Authority.
When the Port Authority decided to divest itself from ownership of the World Trade Center, they approached several candidates to submit bids for the office towers. Vornado was initially the successful bidder, but relinquished their successful bid to Larry Silverstein who was more experienced in affairs with the Port Authority.
Larry Silverstein, delivered his keynote speech at NYU Schack Institute of Real Estates 55th Annual Conference on Capital Markets in Real Estate on Tuesday December 6th 2022, at the Pierre hotel, New York City.
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