What is Larry Silverstein’s Net Worth?
Larry Silverstein is an American businessman who has a net worth of $4 billion. Larry Silverstein is most widely known as the developer who purchased The World Trade Center on July 24, 2001, a month and a half before the complex was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Technically, Larry paid $3.2 billion for a 99-year lease on the property just six weeks before. The terms of his lease gave him both the right and the obligation to rebuild in the event the buildings were destroyed. He subsequently re-built the complex as a series of buildings and a memorial on the former site, spending $25 billion in the process. Earlier in his career, he established the real estate firm Silverstein Properties, which has since developed, owned, and managed over 40 million square feet of property. Among the notable properties is 30 Park Place, one of New York’s tallest residential buildings.
Early Life and Education
Larry Silverstein was born on May 30, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York to a Jewish family. As a kid, he took a liking to classical music and played the piano. Silverstein was educated at the High School of Music and Art, and then at New York University, from which he graduated in 1952. He later attended classes at Brooklyn Law School.
Silverstein entered the world of real estate due to the influence of his father Harry as well as his brother-in-law Bernard Mendik. He went on to found the real estate firm Silverstein Properties in 1957. Based in New York City, the company grew into one of the biggest investors of real estate in the city, developing, owning, and managing over 40 million square feet of property, including commercial and residential spaces. Silverstein’s portfolio includes such major buildings as 30 Park Place, Americas Tower, the Equitable Building, and 120 Wall Street.
World Trade Center and 9/11
In 1980, Silverstein won a bid from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to lease and develop its last remaining undeveloped parcel, where he would construct the 47-story 7 World Trade Center, just north of the primary World Trade Center site. Later, in 2000, the Port Authority put up the original World Trade Center complex for lease. Although Silverstein made a $3.2 billion bid to lease-purchase the property, he was outbid by Vornado Realty. However, Vornado’s deal fell through, and Silverstein was able to negotiate a new bid, which he accepted in July of 2001. As leaseholder, Silverstein was accorded the obligation to rebuild the World Trade Center structures if they were destroyed.
Silverstein usually spent his mornings in breakfast meetings atop the World Trade Center North Tower, but was at a medical appointment on the morning of September 11, 2001 when all the buildings in the complex were destroyed or irreparably damaged by the terrorist attacks. An extended dispute with insurers ensued over the amount of coverage for rebuilding some of the structures. Specifically, there was question about whether the attacks counted as one event or two events under the insurance policy. After multiple years of continued disputes, a settlement was reached in 2007 that determined a maximum of $4.55 billion was payable.
World Trade Center Rebuilding
In his agreement, Silverstein retained the rights to build three of the new World Trade Center structures: 150 Greenwich Street, 175 Greenwich Street, and 200 Greenwich Street. Meanwhile, One World Trade Center would be owned by the Port Authority. The first rebuilt building in the new World Trade Center complex was 7 World Trade Center, which reopened in 2006 and was fully leased in 2011. It was followed by 4 World Trade Center, which reopened in 2013. One World Trade Center opened the next year, and 3 World Trade Center opened in 2018.
Other Notable Real Estate Projects
Among his other real estate projects, Silverstein developed a major residential complex that spans the entire block between 41st and 42nd Street and between 11th and 12th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Notable buildings that are part of that area include One River Place and the 60-story Silver Towers. Silverstein also helped develop Manhattan’s new Riverside Center, where the 42-story condominium building One West End opened in 2017.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
In 1956, Silverstein married his wife Klara, whom he met while working at a summer camp during college. The couple has three children named Lisa, Roger, and Sharon. Silverstein lives in a $34 million penthouse on the 80th floor of his 30 Park Place tower.
On the philanthropic side of things, Silverstein founded the Real Estate Institute at his alma mater NYU and created a scholarship fund for its medical school. He also served as chairman of the Realty Foundation and United Jewish Appeal, and as a trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. In 2012, Silverstein donated $5 million to his wife’s alma mater, Hunter College, to fund the Klara and Larry Silverstein Student Success Center.