March 2nd - March 8th, 2007
LMDC Removes Ground Zero Camera
Friday, March 2nd: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) will no longer post hourly photos of Ground Zero on its website, the Associated Press reported. The reduction in traffic on the LMDC's website does not justify the cost of hourly photo updates, said A.J. Carter, a spokesman for the Empire State Development Corp., the LMDC's parent corporation. The camera was installed to show progress at the site less than a year ago, and while hourly images will no longer be available, the LMDC plans to post periodic pictures of progress at Ground Zero.
Mayor, Developers Push to Extend TRIA
Monday, March 5th: The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), enacted in 2002 and renewed in 2005, will expire on December 31st of this year unless Congress extends it again, the Associated Press reported. The program created a federal backstop that shares the burden of losses caused by foreign acts of terror with insurers who have been squeamish to provide terrorism insurance and policies for projects in New York and other major cities. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Charles Schumer, and numerous real estate developers urged federal lawmakers to make the program permanent, or at lest extend it for several years.
State Representative Gary Ackerman told the AP that failure to extend TRIA could "itself be a disaster." He added, "It would certainly result in the destabilization of the insurance industry, and in all likelihood the national economy." While critics of TRIA feel that the program is an unnecessary subsidy for already successful developers and insurers, Bloomberg said that TRIA simply corrects "market failure" caused by the threat of terrorism, the AP continued. The mayor, noting several development projects in Manhattan, told the AP, "Without terrorism risk insurance, none of this would ever get off the ground," he said. "And if projects like this are put in jeopardy, so will the future of our city, the global financial leader of America."
Gristedes Heads to Financial District
Tuesday, March 6th: Supermarket chain Gristedes signed a lease for 7,500 square feet at 90 Maiden Lane between Pearl and William Streets, the New York Post reported. The lease makes Gristedes the first supermarket chain to open in the financial district. According to the Post, the space was previously rented to a McDonald's restaurant and the asking rent was $120 per square foot. "This is nice sized brand name supermarket, which is exactly what we need," Downtown Alliance President, Eric Deutsch, told the Post.
Debate Surrounding Survivors Staircase Continues
Tuesday, March 6th: The final fate of the "Survivors' Staircase" remains undecided, but the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeking bids to temporarily move the 175-ton structure to make way for construction at Ground Zero, the Daily News reported. The staircase is the only remaining above-ground remnant of the World Trade Center, and the State Historic Preservation Office is studying ways to preserve the structure. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation previously offered to dismantle the staircase and include some of the steps in the tower being built at the site, but the State Historic Preservation Office called the move "inappropriate," the Daily News added.
Wall Street Joins National Register of Historic Places
Tuesday, March 6th: Wall Street, encompassing 36 blocks, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Associated Press reported. "It's possible that no single area tells the story of America's progression from a primarily rural nation to a diverse industrial society as well as the Wall Street Historic District," President of the National Architectural Trust Steven McClain, told the AP. The National Register recognizes historically and architecturally significant structures or areas and is administered by the National Parks Service. The National Register provides federal tax benefits and preservation grants for some projects and allows for renovations and redevelopment as long as the plans do not destroy or radically change the area, the AP added.