Childhood & Early Life
Larry A. Silverstein was born on 30th May 1931, in Brooklyn, New York City, to Harry G. Silverstein and his wife. His parents were Jewish. He has a sister named Annette Silverstein, who later married his friend Bernard H. Mendik.
He was interested in music and playing instruments from childhood. He played the piano as a young boy. He went to the High School of Music and Art in New York and later graduated from the New York University in 1952.
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Larry Silverstein ventured into real estate along with his father and friend Bernard H. Mendik. In 1957, they founded the real estate company ‘Harry G. Silverstein & Sons’ (later Silverstein Properties), and acquired their first building in Manhattan.
Even after his father’s death in 1966, Larry and Bernard continued their business partnership. However, after Bernard Mendik’s divorce from Annette Silverstein Mendik, the business also witnessed a split.
According to statements from Mendik, there were differences in their approaches related to business strategies; while Larry was keen on building, Mendik’s focus was on buying buildings. They continued to work in the real estate business though in separate firms.
Larry independently bought real estate in Midtown and lower Manhattan, and by 1978, he owned buildings on the fifth avenue, 44 Wall Street and a commercial building in Connecticut.
In 1983, he made a major accomplishment by selling a building at 711 Fifth Avenue to Coca-Cola for USD 57.6 million, thereby registering a profit of approximately USD 46 million.
In 1980, he had bought a building at 120 Wall Street, and almost a decade later, in 1991, he set aside 20 floors in the building to be leased by non-profit organizations. In 1980, he had also won a bid to construct seven World Trade Centers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In 2001, Silverstein Properties made a USD 3.2 billion bid to lease the World Trade Center and the same was accepted in July 2001. The agreement applied to the One, Two, Four and Five World Trade Centers and approximately 4,25,000 square feet of retail space. The deal allowed Silverstein the right and obligation to rebuild the structures, if destroyed.
On 11th September 2001, following terrorist attacks, the buildings at the World Trade Center, including buildings 1 through 7 were destroyed. After lengthy discussions and court hearings, in 2007, it was determined that the maximum coverage for the buildings 1,2,4, and 5 was USD 4.55 billion.
Silverstein Properties opened the 7 World Trade Center in 2006. It was the first office tower to be rebuilt at the World Trade Center site, and also the first LEED-certified office building in New York City.
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In 2013, Silverstein properties opened 4 World Trade Center, and by 2018, the work on 3 World Trade Center was completed.
Other projects that he and his firm are involved in include the building of one of the tallest residential towers in New York, designed by Robert A.M. Stern, and a Four Seasons hotel. Another recent project was the largest Four Seasons resort of the world at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Family & Personal Life
Larry Silverstein met his future wife Klara during college, and the couple got married in 1956. She worked as a school teacher.
The couple has three children, Lisa, Roger, and Sharon, and eight grandchildren. Lisa is married to Tal Kerret. Lisa, Roger and Tal Kerret are executives at Silverstein Properties.
He along with his wife has been actively involved in various philanthropic activities. He was the founder of New York University's Real Estate Institute as well as a trustee of the New York University Medical Center and Health System.
Other foundations that he has been associated with are the Realty Foundation, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver and the United Jewish Appeal at New York.
In 2012, he donated USD 5 million to the Hunter College to financially support the Klara and Larry Silverstein Student Success Center. The couple has also donated USD 5.25 million to New York University School of Medicine towards the Silverstein Scholarship Fund.