May 4th - May 8th, 2009
Building Permit Requests Decline
May 4 – The number of building permits fell dramatically in the first two months of 2009 – about 80% according to a report from The New York Building Congress. President of the Building Congress, Richard Anderson attributed the drop to the normal decrease in construction during the winter months. However, he warned “the numbers don’t bode well for the coming years.” The report said the numbers were worse in Manhattan and Brooklyn; the Bronx and Queens suffered less of a slowdown. At a Building Congress breakfast, Anderson urged the City to reexamine its plans to cut the city’s 5 year capital budget by 30 percent.
New Tenant at 1WFC Signed
May 4 – An Indian outsourcing and software company will be moving into 1WFC, according to Real Estate Weekly. Tata Consultancy Services signed a lease for 15,000 square feet. The paper says the company is part of a growing influx of Indian firms which offer outsourcing solutions who are eager to establish a presence in the City.
PA to Issue WTC Transportation Hub Bids
May 5 – The Port Authority says bids will go out soon for the three biggest components of the WTC Transportation Hub – brining the structure up to street level, building the permanent box for the No. 1 subway and constructing the above ground winged oculus, according to a report in The New York Post. The PA announced recently that Phoenix Constructors was being removed from the project. The PA hopes to reduce the cost of the project with competitive bidding. The current estimate for the project is $3.2 billion.
Stop Work Order Issued at 123 Washington
May 4 – Another stop work order went up at 123 Washington Street, after another piece of lumber fell from the construction project. The wood landed on a Port Authority vehicle near the site; no one was hurt. This is the third time this year that a stop work order has been issued for that project.
Battery Conservancy Chooses Firm
May 4 – UNStudio, an Amsterdam based architecture firm, has been chosen by the Battery Conservancy to design a new public square and pavilion for Battery Park near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. New York Construction News reported the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavillion is expected to be completed this fall. The project is being funded by the Dutch government as a symbol of the long term relationship between New York and the Netherlands. The structure will serve as an information center and food kiosk. It will be equipped with LED lights that change color at night as well as benches and tables.
Grant Program Revised
Grant Program May 4- Small sized and entrepreneurial companies relocating in Lower Manhattan will be getting some assistance from the City and State. City Hall News reports $30 million in grants will be available later this month through the Empire State Development. Corporation. Companies that create at least 75 new jobs and maintain those jobs for ten years will be eligible for grants up to $4,000 per job. Officials revamped the program in light of the economic downturn; previously, the Job Creation and Retention Program required firms to create 200 jobs to receive funding. Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City said future growth of the financial services industry would probably come from smaller emerging firms with a technology spin or those developing new products for the international marketplace. “Businesses right now are counting every penny and there is always concern about New York being a high-cost place to do business.”
Photo Flyover Review Ongoing
May 5 – The White House says a review of the $328,000 photo op Air Force One flyover in Lower Manhattan is expected to be completed this week. And, it’s flip flopping over whether the photos will be released. Earlier this week, ABC NEWS.com reported the Obama administration had no plans to release the photos that were taken by the plane; now other media outlets say the photos will be released. The White House was roundly criticized after the Defense Department failed to notify people in Lower Manhattan and New Jersey about the flyover which caused panic among residents and workers.
NYC Projects Move Forward
May 6- In an interview in The New York Observer, Marisa Lago, Empire State Development CEO, said she is focused on naming a downstate president of the agency. “It’s a big job- we want to make sure we find the right person.” At least four candidates have been interviewed so far. Lago pointed out several big projects are moving forward, despite the lack of a downstate president. The $463 million renovation of the Javits Convention Center was approved last month and $100 million in contracts has been awarded to build Brooklyn Bridge Park.
PA Moynihan Station Budget Revised
May 6th – The Port Authority estimates it will take $1.4 billion to build Moynihan station, according to a report in The New York Observer. The Port emphasized the estimate is preliminary, but the project will bring long term benefits to the city. The story hints that, with the Port’s ongoing financial negotiations with Larry Silverstein over the office towers at WTC, the agency may have to trim that estimate significantly.
FDIC Exchange Place Office Leaving Lower Manhattan
May 7th- The FDIC has apparently decided to move from 20 Exchange Place to the Empire State Building. The New York Observer reports sources close to the negotiations say the FDIC is eyeing 100,000 square feet of space in the newly revamped landmark building. The FDIC had no comment.
NY Law School Building Opens
May 7th – The new New York Law School building at West Broadway and Leonard Street opened this week. It’s a glass enclosed $200 million dollar, 235,00 square foot five story building, which doubles the size of the school’s campus.
130 Liberty Street Deconstruction Schedule Updated
May 7th – According to a status update from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street won’t be demolished until January 2010, three months later than the previous schedule. The New York Observer also reports, is the deconstruction goes beyond that date, it might delay construction of the Port Authority’s Vehicle Security Center.
PA Updates Progress Report
May 8 – The Port Authority, in its progress report for the first quarter of 2009, said it has met almost all of its nine construction goals. The Downtown Express reports the report shows progress on the installation of steel for the PATH Hub and new designs for the Memorial and Greenwich Street. One goal not met is the turnover of the sites for Towers 2, 3 and 4 to Silverstein Properties.
MTA CEO Resigns
May 8 – Governor Paterson accepted the resignation of MTA CEO Elliot Sander; many predict there will be more management changes at the agency as the Governor attempts to take the MTA in a different direction and make it more accountable. Paterson wants to combine the jobs of CEO and Chairman. Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger is expected to leave in about a month. The news comes just a day after Albany passed a rescue bill for the agency. Marc Shaw, an aide to the Governor, is considered to be the top contender for the job.
Retail Rents Continue to Decline
May 8 – Rents for retail space in Lower Manhattan continue to come down. GlobeSt.com is reporting a drop of 13% downtown, in a report by the Real Estate Board of New York. The report says the decline, which is evident throughout Manhattan, reflects a needed market correction following a seven year stretch of sharp increases in rents. A report from the Downtown Alliance shows the office vacancy rate in Lower Manhattan increased by about 1 percent in the past year.