Two state legislators want to "force" the public agency that owns New York City's tallest buildings, the twin-tower World Trade Center, to consider selling it following last week's disclosure that the Prudential Life Insurance Company of America wants to buy it.
The two legislators, Sen. Franz Leichter, and Assemblyman G. Oliver Koppell, said they are sponsoring legislation that would force the owners of the 110-story buildings, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to take the offer seriously.
"This is a perfect time for the agency to sell. I don't want them to miss that chance," Leichter said.
The senator, a long-time critic of the Port Authority's real estate activities, said the agency should concentrate on developing mass transit rather than building and operating office buildings where it is losing money.
The agency runs the airports and seaports in the New York Metropolitan area.
Prudential reportedly was talking about buying the twin 110-story towers of the World Trade Center for an estimated price of at least $1 billion.
Talks between the insurance company and the Port Authority began several weeks ago.
The New York Times reported that the Prudential inquiry was made jointly with Donald J. Trump, president of a family company active in New York City real estate.
Representatives of Prudential and the Trump family company were not immediately available for comment.
Alan Sagner, president of the Port Authority, told the Times the Trade Center complex is not for sale "at the present time."
"This does not preclude Prudential from still maintaining interest, nor does it preclude us from changing our position," he added.
Any sale would require approval by the 12-commissioners of the Port Authority and the governors of New York and New Jersey.
Last year a West German bank, Deutsche Bank A.G., expressed interest in the buildings. At that time Port Authority officials said they were willing to listen to any offers.
Transfer of the publicly owned Trade Center to private owners would provide the city with an estimated $65 million a year in new taxes. The Port Authority pays no taxes, but gives the city about $3 million for services provided. CAPTION: Picture, World Trade Center photo Copyright (c) Peter B. Kaplan