March 10th - March 14th, 2008
WTC Survivors Staircase Relocated
March 10 – On Sunday, March 9, the Survivors Staircase was moved from the spot where 7 years ago, it became an iconic structure for surviving the attacks on the WTC. Crews used a 500 ton crane to move the staircase which weighs approximately 65 tons. An American flag was placed on the staircase and then it was hoisted onto a flatbed truck and placed 200 feet away from the WTC site to a park near 7 WTC. According the Port Authority, the cost of the removal is estimated to be about $25 million. The staircase was relocated to allow construction of Tower 2 to continue. The Staircase was an escape route for hundreds of people on 9-11. Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, one of the groups that fought to preserve the staircase, told the New York Times, “This is a terribly important part of the 9/11 story, a story of survival in the midst of so much destruction. It’s a story that we now know will be told.” The staircase will be moved again in late summer to the western portion of the site where the National September 11 Memorial and Museum will be built around it.
Pier 40 in Need of Repairs
March 11- One of the tenants on Pier 40 has been ordered to move out of its space immediately. The New York Post reports Biz Kids, a theatre program for about 100 children, has to move out of its theater because of falling concrete, according to engineers who inspected the building. A spokesman for Hudson River Park Trust said structural problems at Pier 40 are growing, but this is the only tenant who has had to leave so far. A recent study estimated the pier would need more than $120 million in repairs to firm up the pilings, concrete and steel.
WTC Towers 3 and 4 Construction Expected to Begin Soon
March 13 – Construction is expected to begin later this month on towers 3 and 4 at the WTC site. Larry Silverstein, in a speech to the New York Building Congress, detailed the construction schedule that will stretch out over 4 years. According to The New York Sun towers 2, 3 and 4 are expected to reach street level in a year. By the middle of 2010, towers 3 and 4 will reach their maximum height; tower 2 will reach its maximum height in 2011. Two large cranes are being erected at the WTC site this weekend and test blasting is underway.
Borough Wide Manhattan Construction Watch Group Formed
March 13 – Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced the formation of a borough-wide working group on construction safety called the Manhattan Construction Watch. According to the Battery Park Broadsheet, Stringer held a news conference outside the former Deutsche Bank building on Liberty Street emphasizing the need to identify potential problems before they become incidents. Stringer’s hope is that the Watch will hold City agencies accountable. The Watch will be headed by Community board 1 Vice Chair Catherine McVay Hughes who is also a Downtown resident.
Downtown Leaders Weigh in on Impact of New Governor
March 14- Downtown leaders weighed in on the impact the new Governor will have on progress at the WTC site. In an article in The Downtown Express, Port Authority Executive director Anthony Shorris welcomed David Paterson, saying regardless of who is governor, “they’re going to realize the importance of this site. We all have to keep our eyes focused on the inevitable vision. Judy Rapfogel, Chief of Staff to Assembly Speaker Silver told The Downtown Express, “We think he’ll be very sensitive to Shelly’s concerns.” Liz Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, hopes the new governor will listen to her concerns about the MTA’s decision to do away with the oculus at the Fulton Transit Center. “It is essential that the building be a distinctive, architecturally significant building with sufficient, quality retail.”
DeLury Square Park Land Acquired
March 14- Residents of Southbridge Towers voted overwhelming this week to sell a parcel of land to the City so the new DeLury Square park could be built. According to The Downtown Express, the curved intersection of Fulton and Gold Streets will be transformed into a 10,000 square foot park and the city will pay Southbridge $5.7 million for a piece of land needed for the park. The City hopes to begin construction this fall and predicts the park will be open in the fall of 2009.
City Buildings Commissioner Announces 2009 Strategic Plan
March 14- City Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster announced the department’s 2009 Strategic plan, which includes several measure to improve construction site safety. According to Real Estate Weekly, over the next two years, the department will conduct intensive inspection sweeps of construction sites; track architects, engineers and contractors to identify repeat offenders; utilize Stop work orders to enforce building and zoning rules and make the construction and inspection process more transparent.