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By Nicole Atoyan ’17
On Monday, July 11th, 21 members from the Real Estate Association (REA) and the Family Business Club visited Silverstein Properties at the World Trade Center. The tour began with an hour-long meeting with Marty Burger, the Chief Executive Officer of Silverstein Properties. The group peered out of the 38th floor boardroom windows as Mr. Burger explained the development of each tower on the 16-acre site that houses the 9/11 memorial fountains, museum, four office towers and the PATH terminal. Mr. Burger spoke in depth about the rebuilding and development process, and the project’s hand in revitalizing Lower Manhattan. A question and answer session followed where Mr. Burger offered useful advice about succeeding in the real estate development and investment businesses, and discussed his own career trajectory, leaving none of the students’ questions unanswered. He also discussed the complexity of devising a succession plan for the family-owned Silverstein Properties.
The group’s visit proceeded with a tour of the Silverstein Properties office led by Dara McQuillan, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, and Mike Marcucci, a filmmaker consultant for Silverstein Properties. The students learned that each of the World Trade Center towers was designed by a world-renowned architect with a distinct style. Silverstein Properties hosted each architect’s design studios in its office in 7 World Trade Center. The architects’ biographies, a model of each tower they designed, and the materials they used were on display. The different designs, finishes, and materials used were artfully assembled into a group of towers cascading in height, representative of the Statue of Liberty. The architectural and design elements were nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The tour concluded with a visit to the PATH terminal, where the group first traveled under the towers and then admired the art collection installed in the terminal. The students emerged in 4 World Trade Center, designed by Fumihiko Maki.
We thank Silverstein Properties for their generosity in allowing us to tour the site.
Nicole Atoyan’17 is the VP of January Term for the Real Estate Association at Columbia Business School. She is a first-year student focusing on real estate finance and credit markets. Nicole previously worked for IDS Real Estate Group in the Real Estate Services division.