July 20th - July 26th, 2013
Boats Burglarized in Lower Manhattan
July 19 - Two thieves have been breaking into boats docked along Manhattan's southwestern seaboard -- and cops want to throw the raiders in irons, according to the New York Daily News. Police say the thieves have been pillaging boats since May 27, taking whatever electronics and artwork they can find inside. They've surfaced six times -- hitting the New York Kayak Company on West St. near W. Houston St. in Greenwich Village twice, according to officials. But the scoundrels have gotten very little booty: They couldn't crack the locks barring them from the New York Kayak Company on June 21 and June 28 and left empty handed. They also took nothing from a boat found docked in the North Cove near Battery Park City on July 4 -- the date of their last heist, officials said. Cops are asking anyone with information regarding these scallywags to come forward. Calls to Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS are confidential.
Hudson River Teeming With Sewage-Linked Bacteria, Says Study
July 19 - This week's heat wave has many in our area heading to the water, but a new study from Columbia University suggests cooling off in the Hudson might not be a good idea, according to WNYC. Researchers found drug-resistant bacteria at several spots in the waterway from the Tappan Zee Bridge to Lower Manhattan. The bacteria enters the river whenever the city's sewer system is overwhelmed after a heavy rainfall. Suzanne Young, a doctoral student at the University of South Florida working with researchers at Columbia, says she would avoid any water near the shoreline or south of the George Washington Bridge. "It's more about when rather than where because of these combined sewer overflow events, so if it's just been raining, then I would avoid submerging yourself in the water," she said. Those with compromised immune systems, the very young or the very old are more at risk.
Pratt Industries Donates Solar-Powered Recycling Bins to NYC
July 19 - Pratt Industries, a recycled paper and packaging company, has partnered with New York City to place 16 solar-powered recycling receptacles around Lower Manhattan, reported Waste and Recycling News. In 2012, the area generated 1,400 tons of waste. Paper from the new bins will eventually be recycled at Pratt's Staten Island paper mill, a company news release indicates. The solar-powered recycling units, made by BigBelly Solar, have five times the capacity of existing trash receptacles and can wirelessly alerts collectors when they are full. The city announced in March that it would install 30 of the solar-powered receptacles in Times Square, which generates an average of 15,300 pounds of garbage each day. Money for those 30 receptacles was granted by the Alcoa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of aluminum recycler and producer Alcoa. The city plans to install 1,000 new recycling containers throughout all five boroughs by the end of this year. Mayor Bloomberg has set a goal of 30 percent recycling rate by 2017.
Downtown Residential Development Site Sells for $223 Million
July 22 - A partnership between Fisher Brothers and The Witkoff Group has acquired 101 Murray Street from St. John's University for $223 million. The Commercial Observer reported that the sale is the largest residential development site transaction in Lower Manhattan. St. John's will continue to occupy the 10-story property until mid-2014. The site, slated for a residential development, features a 31,028-square-foot footprint and allows for development of a building totaling 310,028 square feet, with the potential to increase to 372,336 square feet through floor area bonuses. The university plans to locate another Manhattan campus facility to house academic programs, such as the Tobin College of Business School of Risk Management, prior to the 2014-15 academic year.
Hurricane Sandy Still Dampens Lower Manhattan Real Estate
July 24 - Nearly nine months later, Hurricane Sandy continues to wash away the luster of Lower Manhattan commercial real estate, according to the results of a new survey of over 100 New York commercial property executives conducted this summer by accounting firm Marks Paneth and Shron, reported Real Estate Weekly. "The insurance companies are the wild card here. The concern seems to stem less from the damage already done and more from the idea that it can happen again and that not enough will be done to prevent it," said William Jennings, Partner-in-Charge at MP&S. Among the findings, that puts commercial property professionals' views on Lower Manhattan in high relief: The majority New York commercial property executives said they think the potential for flooding in Lower Manhattan will increase interest in commercial properties in other parts of the island less prone to flooding. Fewer than a quarter disagreed with that perspective. The rest weren't sure. There is a brighter side to the findings. Fewer New York commercial real estate executives believe that commercial property values in Lower Manhattan will have been permanently lowered by the effects of Sandy than did at the beginning of the year.
City Council OKs Limited Commercial Development on Governors Island
July 25 - The City Council voted yesterday to modify the zoning law that regulates development on the portion of Governors Island that is operated as a park by the City of New York, reported the Broadsheet. The measure approved on Wednesday will allow for some commercial development on the island, in approximately 40 historic buildings comprising more than a million square feet of rentable space. The purpose of the changed zoning is to bring revenue-generating businesses, such as restaurants and retail establishments, to Governors Island, in the hope that the rents paid by these firms will help fund maintenance and development of parkland elsewhere on the island. (Approximately 150 acres of the 172-acre island is controlled by the City; the remaining 22 acres are managed by the federal government as a National Monument.) Wednesday's City Council vote hinged, in part, on provisions requiring any private business on the island to use union labor for construction and ongoing operations. The City Council insisted upon these requirements, despite the reluctance from the Trust for Governors Island, the City agency that manages the park.
Ground Breaks For New Park Project On Governors Island
July 25 - Governors Island is becoming the "it" summer destination for New Yorkers who want to take in breathtaking views of the New York Harbor, according to NY1. As he broke ground on a new public park project for the area Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "The Hills" would give New Yorkers, including himself, another reason to hop on the ferry. Back in May, construction began on 30 acres of new parkland on the island. "The Hills" will add 11 more acres to that space. Once complete, four hills will be featured along with trees and walking paths. Visitors will be able to see everything like never before, including a panorama of the Statute of Liberty, Ellis Island, New York Harbor, and the Lower Manhattan skyline; the park has provisions for any future coastal flooding. Leslie Koch, President of the Trust for Governors Island, says they were also thinking green and about the importance of sustainability. This public park is privately funded. Google's Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy donated $15 million for the project. During the entire 2005 season, about 8,000 people hopped on the ferry to visit Governors Island. Last year, that number was more like 8,000 people a day. The mayor hopes this trend continues when the park opens in the spring of 2015.