May 11th - May 15th, 2009
PA Considers Scaling Back WTC Site Construction
May 11 – The Port Authority is reportedly considering building only 2 of the 5 towers proposed for the WTC site. The Daily News reported that would reduce the amount of office space slated for the site by half, to around 5 million square feet. The paper says in place of two 79 story towers, the PA would build towers 2 and 3 about 5 stories tall to could be used for retail. The report adds Tower 5 would be scrapped and Tower 4 would go ahead with about $1 billion in financing and rent abatements for Larry Silverstein. The news comes on the heels of several calls for a summit meeting on rebuilding the site. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Mayor Bloomberg want to resolve the impasse between Silverstein and the PA. Crain’s New York Business is reporting that the summit between the Mayor, Governors Paterson and Corzine and Silverstein will take place next Thursday.
LMDC Assists Small Businesses
May 11- The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, responding to calls from local businesses and the community, has made several changes to its Small Firm Assistance Program, according to The Battery Park Broadsheet Daily. The program was set up after 9-11 and Community Board 1said many Downtown merchants have been impacted by all the construction and the recession. LMDC is now meeting with merchants face to face, helping them fill out the application and it’s processing the applications quicker. The story also says the agency is thinking about increasing the amount of each grant to $4 or $5 a square foot. The report also says merchants on permanently closed streets might also be eligible for grants.
Crown to Reopen at Statue of Liberty
May 11 – When the Statue of Liberty reopens on July 4th, only 8 people may be allowed into the crown at a time. A safety report, from the National Parks Service, also recommends that people be allowed to spend only five minutes in the crown. The Daily News reports the steps are being considered to due to fire and emergency evacuation concerns. The study estimates 240 people a day could be allowed into the Statue under these guidelines. Lady Liberty will reopen on July 4th, be open for two years and then be closed for up to two years for safety modifications.
Burling Slip Playground Construction Underway
May 11- A groundbreaking was held for a new playground at Burling Slip at the South Street Seaport. Known as the Imagination Playground, it enables kids to create their own structures to play on, by using large plastic blocks with the help of trained staff. The park was made possible by a $4.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
PA Explores Alternatives to Office Building
May 12 – The Port Authority is reportedly looking into building Tower 5 as a luxury hotel and residential building, according to a report in The New York Post. Sources say the market for a luxury hotel and apartments is a stronger option than waiting for a commercial tenant to fill the building.
City Council Approves Demolition Regulations
May 12 - Nearly two years after the fatal fire at the Deutsche bank building, the City Council announced 12 new proposals for building demolitions. The new regulations included stepped up inspections of all sprinklers and standpipes in buildings undergoing demolition and abatement. The Buildings Department, DEP and FDNY would be required to share information on inspections with each other and improve standards for permits. The new regulations do not apply to federal or state buildings; the mayor’s office is urging Albany to bring state buildings under the new regulations.
Garden to Temporarily Close
May 12 – The Liberty Community Gardens near West Street will be displaced this fall. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to demolish the area along West Street between West Thames and Albany Streets to construct a section of the Promenade that will run from Battery Park to Midtown, according to a report in The Battery Park Broadsheet. DOT says it will construct a new garden for the community in what is now a parking lot at Albany Street and it will open in May 2010.
Fiterman Hall Decontamination Nearly Complete
May 12 – The Dormitory Authority of NY (DASNY) appeared before Community Board 1 Monday night with an update on Fiterman Hall. Project Manager Richard Dalessio said, “We’re close to having an OK for the demolition plan.” He said most of the building has been abated and deconstruction could begin in the next few months.
Emergency Drill Scheduled for Sunday
May 13 – The Port Authority announced there will be a major, multi-agency emergency response drill at the World Trade Center PATH Station on Sunday morning, May 17.
Elevator Services Resumes on Bridge
May 13 – Elevator service has resumed on the Rector Place Bridge, according to The Battery Park Broadsheet Daily. The Battery Park City Authority also installed a call system in the elevator in case anyone needs to summon help.
AIG Tower Deal Expected Soon
May 13 – A bidding war is on for AIG’s two skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan. The New York Observer reports the bids are around $100 a square foot, meaning 70 Pine Street could be worth about $77.4 million and AIG’s sister building at 72 Wall Street might go for a mere $32.5 million. AIG is expected to close a deal with one of the bidders in the next few weeks.
Seoul Selects Libeskind Plan
May 14 - Daniel Libeskind, architect of the WTC site, was chosen as master planner for a $20 billion project to transform the capitol of South Korea. The plan is to change Seoul into an international business district with skyscrapers, residential, office and retail space as well as cultural and educational facilities and a rapid transit system.
Construction Accident at WTC site
May 15 – There was a construction accident at the WTC site. An ironworker fell 20 feet on Tuesday morning when he was on a break. According to The Downtown Express, the worker’s safety harness was not connected at the time because he was on a break. His injuries were minor.
Commuter Bus Parking Resolved
May 15 – Finally, there’s a solution to the issue of commuter bus parking in Lower Manhattan, according to The Downtown Express. The City Department of Transportation said 20 to 30 buses will be moved from the FDR Drive in Tribeca to a parking lot at 30th street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, starting this week. Community Board 1 praised the decision and the move allows the city’s work on the East River Waterfront project to proceed. The City is continuing to work with the community to find a spot for the remaining 30 buses.