Crowdfunding Comes to Manhattan’s World Trade Center

Got $5,000? You can invest in the 3 World Trade Center skyscraper under construction in lower Manhattan.

Fundrise, a real estate crowdfunding business, is inviting individual investors to put as little as $5,000 into bonds backing the 80-story tower, according to a statement e-mailed by Joshua Greenwald, a spokesman for the Washington-based company. The total cost for the Richard Rogers-designed building is projected to be $2 billion.

“We think the 3 World Trade Center investment offering is proof of the power of crowdfunding at work,” Dan Miller, co-founder of Fundrise, said in the statement. “We are proud to be able to give more people a chance to invest in this important iconic asset.”

The initiative marries crowdfunding, a means of using the Internet to democratize access to investment opportunities, with one of the world’s best-known development projects. Larry Silverstein has already completed 4 World Trade Center, the first tower to open at the site, and spent much of last year trying to finance the second skyscraper.

Fundrise intends to raise at least $2 million for the tower. Investors are projected to receive a 5 percent tax-free annual return over five years, according to the statement. They would be buying into an entity that holds an interest in a portion of bonds backing the construction that were sold late last year by New York Liberty Development Corp.

Investors must be accredited to participate, meaning they’re required to meet certain Securities and Exchange Commission criteria for income or net worth.

Fundrise Backing

Fundrise has financial backing from Silverstein Properties Inc.’s chief executive officer, Martin Burger, as well as Guggenheim Partners.

In October, Silverstein sold $1.6 billion of tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of 3 World Trade Center. The sale came after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, rejected his bid to have the agency guarantee bond payments. The authority allowed Silverstein to use $159 million of proceeds from a $4.6 billion insurance award that he received after the 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed the original twin towers.

GroupM, an advertising company, has a lease for about a fifth of the 2.5 million-square-foot (232,000-square-meter) 3 World Trade Center.

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