December 14th - December 21st, 2007
Silverstein Secures Another Lease at 7 World Trade Center
December 20th: Larry Silverstein has secured another lease for 7 World Trade Center, according to a report in the New York Observer. The advertising firm Arnell Group will take over a lease for 40,000 square feet on the 37th floor of the building.
At this time, only 11 floors in the 52-story building remain unfilled, ten of which sit at the top of the glass tower and have the highest asking rents. Rent per square foot on most floors of the building is about $70, but space within the top floors is closer to $75, reports the Observer.
The new deal follows on the heels of the announcement of an even larger lease agreement in Lower Manhattan last month. In November, Omnicom, the parent company of Arnell, announced that it had signed an agreement to take approximately 185,000 square feet at 195 Broadway, according to the Observer.
90 West Street Tenants Cornered Over Compensation
December 20th: Tenants of 90 West Street are being asked to sign a questionable release form in order to receive compensation for the flood that forced them out of their homes and left them displaced for more than a week, reports the Downtown Express. Individuals who spoke to the Express describe the language used in the release as "very broad," which, for some, translates to "really scary," as one tenant put it. In signing the release, tenants would relieve the Port Authority and its contractors from any liability associated with the flood on November 26, 2007.
The Port Authority's insurance company requires such stipulations in the release, according to the Express. Community Board 1 Chairwoman Julie Menin told the paper that "asking tenants to sign a release is unacceptable," according to the report. At this time, more than half of the building's tenants have signed the release and just about half of them have received reimbursement checks for expenses incurred due to the flood. However, there are those who have yet to sign the release due to concerns that there could be E. Coli present in the building since the flood. These tenants are worried that they might become sick somewhere down the line and then be ineligible for compensation.
The deadline to sign the release is January 26, 2008. Residents who have not signed by that time will not be eligible for compensation. The Port Authority is, however, settling larger expense claims on a case-by-case basis, reports the Express.
WTC Museum Faces Delays
December 19th: The World Trade Center Museum will face delays, pushing back its ribbon-cutting date to 2011, according to a report in the Daily News. By then the opening ceremony will mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The delay was announced after a review of the "complex construction timetables at Ground Zero" at a recent Port Authority board meeting, according to the Daily News' report. Once open, the museum will serve as a place to honor the near 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center attacks.
Shopping Returns to Ground Zero
December 18th: Westfield Group, an internationally-managed shopping center corporation, may soon be bringing shopping back to Ground Zero. The New York Times reported last week that the group is in negotiations with the Port Authority over a potential settlement that would allow Westfield to buy back its old retail rights to the site. The group had originally signed a lease for the space just weeks before 9/11 but is only now coming back to the city with a new plan for the new World Trade Center site.
The original shops in and around the site were primarily below street level years ago, but the new plan calls for above-ground shopping, reports Insider Retailing. Three office towers along Church Street are expected to house the new Westfield shopping center, which will comprise the bulk of the 490,000-square-foot retail development project. The group plans to invest more than $600 million in creating the shopping centers, according to the report.
As the operator, Westfield will purchase a 50 percent stake in the development project, which will eventually provide 60,000 square feet more retail space than the old shopping complex. The total project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, according to Insider Retailing.