July 28th - August 1st, 2008
Fiterman Hall Demolition May Face Delay
July 28 – The cost of bringing down Fiterman Hall has grown to approximately $325 million, according to The Daily News, and the City and CUNY are arguing over the escalating costs. The story has CUNY Vice Chancellor Iris Weinshall saying the construction boom has inflated costs on the building by about 19 percent; the city, which is funding half of the project, is refusing to contribute more money. CUNY says once the decontamination process is finished in September, it has no plans to proceed with demolition of the building until the funding dispute is resolved.
Residential Construction Spending Falls
July 28 – Resident construction spending is expected to fall 30 percent this year, according to a new study by McGraw Hill Construction. A Crains report says contractors are still busy completing projects they landed in the last few years, but are scrambling for new work. The study says the sharp drop in residential construction spending can be blamed on the credit crunch, changes to the 421-a program, and sluggish residential sales. The steepest drops are taking place in Queens and Brooklyn. The study also found hotel construction is up 109 percent and spending on public works shot up by 39 percent.
New Plan to Improve City Construction Projects
July 29 – Mayor Bloomberg announced several measures to alleviate delays and cost overruns in city construction projects. The initiatives include paying contractors whose public-works projects are delayed by city mistakes, and cutting in half the processing time for change orders (from 300 days to 150). According to The New York Sun, the city also will keep a central data bank of construction bids, will pre-approve contractors, and give more projects to single contractors.
HSBC May Head to 7WTC
July 29 – There are reports that HSBC may sign a lease at 7 World Trade Center (WTC). A report in The New York Post says Larry Silverstein is close to signing a deal for 300,000 square feet on the tower’s top seven floors. The story says HSBC will pay between $75 and $85 per square foot, which would make it downtown’s highest rent.
Port to Hold Special WTC Board Meetings
July 29 – The Port Authority will begin holding special monthly board meetings in September which will focus solely on the reconstruction of the WTC site. The New York Times reports the announcement came from Chairman Anthony Coscia in an attempt to answer criticisms about the pace of construction. The special meetings will enable the Port to give staff more policy direction, provide an additional layer of board oversight, and ensure that the board can take action on WTC-related items at a pace consistent with the construction schedule. The meetings will be open to the public.
New York Home to Highest Construction Costs
July 30 – Construction costs are three times higher in New York compared with other American cities, according to a report by the New York Building Congress and the New York Building Foundation. The study found the cost of materials, labor, and city-issued permit delays make New York the most expensive city to build in. Construction costs an average of about $400 per square foot here, compared to $150 in Chicago and $120 in Atlanta.
Construction Underway for New Tribeca Residential Tower
July 31 – One of the city’s tallest residential skyscrapers is headed to Tribeca, reports The New York Sun. Rising to 57 stories, the 56 Leonard Street building is now undergoing foundation work by developer Alexico Group. Architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron designed the luxury condominium, though images have not yet been released. The Alexico Group acquired the site from New York Law School for a reported $140 million in 2006. When it is completed in 2010, the estimated $350 million tower will have 145 apartments, several penthouses, and a large public sculpture at ground level by artist Anish Kapoor. It is one of several new residential and hotel skyscrapers headed downtown in the coming years, including 99 Church Street and 8 Spruce Street.