June 8th - June 12th, 2009
Silver Meets with WTC Stakeholders
June 8th – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the participants in the WTC summit, spoke to The Downtown Express about the closed-door talks. He said there is a consensus that developer Larry Silverstein should be able to build as many towers as possible with help from the Port Authority. Silver said, “They’re trying to work through a conclusion that has everybody put in a little more – the Port Authority, the city, the state and most important, Larry Silverstein. And I hope they get there.” The Assembly Speaker said there have been 3 major meetings so far and daily meetings of lower-level staff representing the major players. The next publicly announced meeting is June 11 and the stakeholders say they hope to have a broad outline of an agreement on that date.
CEO of ESD Resigns
June 8 – Marisa Lago, the CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) announced her resignation on Friday. Lago had held the position for 10 months; the news comes amid reports of infighting in the agency. Governor Paterson announced ESD Upstate President Dennis Mullen will assume the role of president and CEO of ESD.
Manganese Exceedance at 130 Liberty
June 8 – The LMDC announced there was an exceedance of manganese at the northwest corner of 130 Liberty Street on Saturday, May 23. The target level is 500 nanograms; the exceedance was 529. An LMDC spokesman said the agency is looking into the cause of the exceedance; it could be truck traffic, construction in the surrounding area and possible welding work in the building. According to The Battery Park Broadsheet Daily, manganese exposure can lead to problems with fine motor control, such as of the fingers, hands and wrists.
WTC Summit Remains Deadlocked
June 9 – The New York Times reported the WTC summit is deadlocked, despite more than two weeks of negotiations. The latest proposal from Larry Silverstein and the city got a lukewarm reception from the Port Authority, according to the paper. A spokesman said they remain far apart on agreeing to a second tower because it would require much more public money. Silverstein has reportedly agreed to invest $75 million and promises to save the PA approximately $400 million for all of the buildings; the City has offered to cover up to $100 million in the financing and has suggested the Governors of NY and NJ do the same. The Mayor had set a June 11th deadline for an agreement; it’s believed there could be a breakthrough in the final hours leading up to that deadline.
Landmark Status Considered for 70 Pine
June 9 – The Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering designating 70 Pine Street as a landmark building.70 Pine is one of two AIG towers up for sale. The Commission told The New York Post the building is one of the iconic buildings of New York. A landmarks designation may impact plans to turn the skyscraper into a mixed use development of residential and retail. Several reports say Russian and Asian buyers are interested in the two AIG towers.
New Security Technology being Tested
June 9 – New security technology, to detect explosive devices, is being tested at all PATH stations starting today. Passengers will be told where the testing is taking place and those who don’t want to be tested will have to use another station, according to a report in AM NY.
Ford Foundation Supports Ground Zero Campaign
June 9 – The Ford Foundation announced it will donate $1 million to a new campaign to provide treatment for Ground Zero workers and residents. The 9/11 Neediest Medical Campaign was announced by the Ford Foundation, The New York Times, and the United Way. The new campaign announced it is supporting programs at Mount Sinai Hospital and Bellevue Medical Center to screen and treat 20,000 9/11 responders.
Crown Reopens at Statue of Liberty
June 9 – You can now have a shot at seeing the hottest tourist attraction in the City - the Statue of Liberty’s crown. The US Department of Interior announced it is taking reservations for tickets; you can call 877-LADY TIX or go online at statuecruises.com. Tickets are $3 and the crown will be open to the public for the first time since 9-11 on July 4th. Only 10 people will be allowed in the crown at a time.
Work Stopped Shortly at 130 Liberty
June 10 – Demolition work on the Deutsche Bank building was halted again on Tuesday when a battery-powered forklift overheated and emitted smoke around 4 a.m. The FDNY responded and discovered a malfunctioning switch stopped them from shutting down the negative air system. The switch is being repaired and work is expected to resume on Wednesday. It’s the second time in a week that a smoke condition has been reported at the building.
Retail Complex at WTC Site Proposed
June 10 – Westfield Group is offering $1.3 billion to pay for a retail complex at the WTC site in an effort to break the impasse at the site. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Port Authority supports the plan, but Larry Silverstein is expected to nix it. The plan would reportedly require Silverstein to delay building two of his three office towers until the economy recovers and it would shift the focus of the site away from commercial development. The Westfield plan has been presented to Governors Paterson and Corzine; neither would comment.
AIG Downtown Office Towers Sold
June 10 – After much speculation, AIG announced it’s selling its two downtown office towers to the Korean based Kumho Investment Bank and Manhattan based development firm Youngwoo and Associates (YWA). Neither company would comment about their plans for the buildings. Several published reports say the buildings at 70 Pine Street and 72 Wall Street went for about $100 a square foot, about a third what they would have sold for two years ago. That means the Art Deco 70 Pine fetched about $78 million and 72 Wall Street was sold for about $33 million. AIG employees will remain at 72 Wall Street through the end of the year and at 70 Pine Street through 2010.
Mega Projects Delayed
June 10 – In spite of the sluggish economy, construction spending was up in 2008 about 4% to $31.8 billion according to a report from the New York Building Congress. Richard Anderson, President the Building Congress said, “Unfortunately most signs are pointing down for the current year.” Residential permits and monthly construction employment have declined steadily since late last year. The report also identified 17 mega projects that have been delayed, including Atlantic Yards.
WTC Museum Reveals Portions of Exhibition
June 11- The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is asking victim’s families to confirm the accuracy of the names and share stories and mementos from the victims to be on permanent display. The Museum also released several new images of what the exhibition will look like. The north half will be devoted to history; there will be a 12 foot high frieze showing portraits of the 2,982 victims. Consoles that work like an iPhone, allow visitors to see details of the victims lives. A mini theater with benches will show audiovisual tributes to each victim.
Site-Safety Plan Submitted
June 11 – Two City Council members, Gail Brewer and Jessica Lappin, introduced a bill requiring developers to submit site-safety plans, when construction work on their sites is suspended. AM NY reports many building projects have been shutdown because of the economic downturn, leaving sites unattended throughout the city. Meanwhile, the City Council voted unanimously on a package of abatement and demolition measures that grew out of the 2007 Deutsche Bank fire which killed two NYC firefighters. The bills create a permit process for abatement jobs, require the use of fire retardant materials and prohibit smoking on an abatement site.
WTC Site Deadline Passes
June 12 – As the deadline passed for an agreement on the WTC site, Mayor Bloomberg announced the negotiations would continue over the weekend. He promised to have an update on Monday. The New York Times reported a proposal was made earlier in the week by the City and Larry Silverstein but both sides remain at odds.
DOB to Share Information
June 12 – The City Buildings Department (DOB) announced it will share information about tower cranes with Chicago and Philadelphia according to The New York Times. The goal is to track equipment failures, manufacturer’s recalls, accidents and industry trends to make the crane industry safer. Currently, there is no national data base on cranes. DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri said this is “a major step toward establishing a standardized system of tracking tower cranes across the country.”