May 10th - May 14th, 2010
FiDi Commercial Vacancy Rate Rises
May 10 – In March, the amount of vacant office space jumped to 13.5%, up from 11.5 in January, according to The Real Deal. Analysts point to the 513,000 square feet AIG returned to the market from 70 Pine Street and 733,000 that was listed by Goldman Sachs. The story also says leasing activity continues to be slow with 260,000 square feet signed in March; the five year average for the area is 360,000.
9-11 Memorial in New Jersey Remains on Hold
May 10 – Budget constraints have stalled construction of “Empty Sky”, a memorial planned for Liberty State Park. The Daily News reports the memorial has funding $1.3 million from the state of NJ and the PA, but the state doesn’t have the $25million to complete the project. The memorial was designed to be a sloping 1.6 acre hill, with two parallel lines of bushes and two 30-foot high, 200 foot long parallel steel walls that will list the names of the 691 New Jersey residents who died on 9-11.
Head of Carpenters Union Steps Down
May 12- Peter Thomassen, head of the District Council of Carpenters, resigned as The Daily News reported on revelations of massive spending on dinners and hotels by top union officials. A union official denied Thomassen’s departure had anything to do with last week’s request for an ex-prosecutor to monitor the union. The union’s leadership is under indictment for racketeering charges.
New Park Opens in Battery Park City
May 12 – A ceremony was held to officially open Teardrop Park South, which is an extension of Teardrop Park North. According to the Battery Park City Broadsheet, the half-acre park was designed to bring to mind the Hudson River Valley. It has bluestone slabs, trees and plants from that region. It’s located on Murray Street between North End Avenue and River Terrace.
Group Will Protest Mosque Planned for Lower Manhattan
May 12 – SIOA, Stop Islamization of America, is planning at June 6th rally to oppose the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. In a press release on PR Newswire, the group’s Executive Director Pamela Geller said, “What could be more insulting and humiliating than a monster mosque in the shadow of the WTC buildings that were brought down by an Islamic jihad attack?”
Positive and Negative News in Quarterly Report
May 12 – The Downtown Alliance report found the commercial vacancy rate for the first quarter was 10%, compared to 6% in the last quarter of ’09. Also, average asking rents for commercial space declined between 13% and 16%. Apartment sales were up 10% in the first quarter, but prices were 15% lower than other parts of Manhattan. Residential vacancies dropped from 2.05% to 1.45% in Q1 2010.
9-11 Families Asked to Contribute Items to Memorial
May 13 – Photos, personal objects, audio remembrances and other memories relating to the nearly 3,000 9-11 victims will become a permanent, special exhibit at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, according to Newsday. The museum will create a “Wall of Faces”, depicting every victim who died on that tragic day.
Publisher Considering Move to 1 WTC
May 14 – Conde Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and several other prestigious magazines, is negotiating with the Port Authority to lease as much as 1 million square feet in the office tower, according to The New York Times. Conde Nast would not confirm the report and the Port Authority declined to comment. Right now, the company occupies 800,000 square feet at 4 Times Square.
Funding Restored for First Responders
May 14 – The Obama administration renewed the contract for six clinics for 9-11 workers. DNAinfo.com reported the clinics contract was set to expire June 30th, cutting off medical care for thousands of responders. Still up in the air is $3.5 million in funding for the City’s 9-11 Mental Health and Substance Use Benefit Program.