Schumer warns a scandal-tarred federal agency not to bail on 1 World Trade

1 World Trade Center. (Little_Karen, via flickr)
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On Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer called Daniel Tangherlini, the acting administrator of the scandal-ridden federal General Services Administration, and reminded him to honor the agency's commitment to 1 World Trade Center, according to an article in Government Security News.

The G.S.A., which is now mired in controversy over an ill-advised conference in Las Vegas, signed a term sheet for a 300,000 square foot lease at 1 World Trade Center in August. 

Now the agency's lavish Las Vegas spending is the subject of congressional hearings. The mess could possibly put at risk the tower's developers, the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, if the agency reconsiders its real-estate commitments as a result.

The lease is significant not only because of its size, but also because, as the New York Post noted at the time and as Schumer reportedly reiterated in his call to Tangherlini, it "will push the iconic tower over the psychologically crucial 50 percent-full mark."  (Office tenants, just like residential ones, don't like buying into a new building that's too empty.)

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"The government can move slowly and the G.S.A. has gotten walloped lately," one former government official told me. "And it’s very easy when that happens at an agency to have things slide through the cracks."

The G.S.A. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Schumer's office responded to a request for comment with the following statement, from the senator: “Seven months after signing a term sheet is plenty of time for the GSA to sign a final leasing arrangement. Every additional day this lease gets held up in GSA bureaucracy is another day lost that the Port Authority and the managing agent could be focused on recruiting private sector tenants. In light of the GSA’s current troubles, it’s important that this lease not get lost in a sea of distraction.”