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Israeli Immigrant Wants to Build World’s Tallest Building In New Jersey

August 13, 1986

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A maverick developer says he plans to build the world’s tallest building across the Hudson River from Manhattan because property values are so low in the poverty-stricken city of Newark.

Harry Grant’s scheme calls for a 121-story condominium, retail, hotel and office tower that would cost $500 million and be finished in 1991.

The building, planned for land next to Newark’s City Hall that Grant bought at auction, would surpass Chicago’s Sears Tower, now the world’s tallest office building at 110 stories.

Grant, an Israeli immigrant who says he thrives on bucking trends, deems Newark perfect for his tower because the city has the nation’s fastest growing airport. He said his project would be attractive to companies driven from Manhattan by prohibitive rents.

At a news conference Tuesday, Grant, 45, said he has the resources to build the tower and a four-mile monorail link with Newark International Airport, but refused to discuss them. All he needs to begin construction, he said, is city approval.

Mayor Sharpe James has not yet made up his mind about whether to endorse the project, said Larry Parson, a spokesman for the mayor.

Grant said he arrived in the United States in 1975 with no capital but has since come to own about $1 billion in developments including a shopping mall in Centereach, N.Y., several properties in New York City and a Saddle River condominium development.

Asked how he expected to find tenants when New Jersey corporations are increasingly moving out of the inner city and into the country, Grant said the low cost would do the coaxing.

In a telephone interview from his Englewood Cliffs office, he said he would charge one-third Manhattan’s going rate for office space at the tower and offer hotel rooms at half the cost of comparable New York City accommodations.

The developer, who changed his name from Uri Chyavi, said in broken English that he chose Grant for his surname because ″anything Harry touch will be granted.″

However, several years ago Grant tried to talk the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey into letting him build a third tunnel under the Hudson River. The agency turned him down.

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