Larry A. Silverstein (born May 30, 1931) is an American billionaire, and real estate investor and developer in New York City. Silverstein was born in Brooklyn, and became involved in real estate, together with his father, establishing Silverstein Properties. Silverstein separated from his partner, Bernard Mendik, in 1977, and bought a number of large office buildings in Midtown and Lower Manhattan in the late 1970s. In 1980, Silverstein won a bid from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to construct 7 World Trade Center, to the north of the World Trade Center. Silverstein was interested in acquiring the entire World Trade Center complex, and put in a bid when the Port Authority put it up for lease in 2000. Silverstein won the bid when a deal between the initial winner and the Port Authority fell through, and he signed the lease on July 24, 2001, only weeks before the towers were destroyed in the September 11 attacks.
Soon after the September 11 attacks, Silverstein declared his intent to rebuild, though ran into dispute with his insurers over whether the attacks constituted one or two occurrences. A settlement was reached in 2004, with insurers agreeing to pay out $4.55 billion, which was not as much as Silverstein sought. Silverstein also ran into dispute with other parties in the rebuilding effort, including the Port Authority. In an agreement reached in April 2006, Silverstein retained rights to build three office towers (150 Greenwich Street, 175 Greenwich Street, and 200 Greenwich Street), while the Freedom Tower will be owned by the Port Authority as well as Tower Five which may be leased out to another private developer and redesigned as a residential building.
Silverstein was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in Brooklyn in 1931. Growing up, Silverstein enjoyed classical music and played the piano. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York, and then New York University, graduating in 1952. During college, Silverstein worked at a summer camp, where he met his wife, Klara. The couple married in 1956, and had three children: Lisa, Roger and Sharon. His wife worked as a school teacher, supporting the family on her salary for the first few years of their marriage while Silverstein attended classes at Brooklyn Law School.