July 13th - July 19th, 2007
Architect Sheds Light on WTC Project
July 13th: Liberty Park may still sit in the shadows, but Monday night's Community Board 1 meeting shed some light on the site's future, according to a report in the Downtown Express. Residents of Lower Manhattan began raising concerns several weeks ago regarding the planned cantilever for World Trade Center Tower 5. The cantilever is necessary to house the trading floors of the buildings new owner, JPMorgan Chase. The positioning of the cantilever, which will jut out above Liberty Park and the new St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church, has been the primary cause for concern among downtown's community members.
Fears that the building's design would cast shadows over the park have been mostly quelled since Monday's meeting. Architect A. Eugene Kohn presented the findings from a recent shadow study conducted by his firm, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, which show that most of the shadows that will fall on Liberty Park are actually caused by other surrounding buildings and not Tower 5's cantilever. Because the shape of the cantilever will be shorter than its original design, it will actually reduce the shadows cast on the World Trade Center memorial at certain times of day, the Express reported.
Fulton Streets Bright Future
July 13th:. The revamping of Fulton Street will require a heavy amount of construction over the next two years, but once complete, residents and workers will enjoy safer sidewalks, attractive artwork, and refurbished utility systems, the Downtown Express reported.
In order to complete the project on time, the city will be working double shifts six days a week with occasional night work in an effort to reduce the impact of water shutoffs to local business during the day. The shutoffs will be necessary in order to replace the 150-year-old water main that runs beneath the street as part of the planned improvements. Due to construction, the city will be forced to close Fulton Street from Church Street to Gold Street for the majority of the project, whose first phase is slated for completion in 2009, the Express reported.
Local merchants are concerned about the impact the street closures will have on their business, but agencies involved in the project have assured them that they will make every effort to communicate information about the ongoing construction in timely fashion. The city is also partnering with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to improve the general appearance of the construction site. It is hoped that displaying public art around work areas will make for a more aesthetically pleasing environment that will attract, rather than deter, pedestrian traffic, the Express added.
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Battery Maritime Building to Get Gourmet Market, Hotel
July 13th: After more than five years of carefully reviewing its options, the city this week named developers the Dermot Company and Poulakakos family to head the $110 million transformation of the Battery Maritime Building into a gourmet food market, hotel, and restaurants.
The Dermot Company and Poulakakos family expressed their excitement about Tuesday's announcement and their plans for the building in a report published by the Downtown Express this week. Access to the building has been identified by both groups as a primary obstacle facing the project. The building itself is said to be striking, but getting to it requires crossing the heavily trafficked beginning of the FDR Drive. So far, plans on how developers will address this challenge have not been shared with the public.
Anticipated benefits for the city from the project include the 700 jobs for city workers it is expected to create as well as future revenues, which are estimated at $75 million over the next 30 years, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
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Maiden Lane Open for Business
July 13th: A new Lower Manhattan art project is one of several efforts being made to jazz up the appearance of Maiden Lane while it continues to undergo construction, the Downtown Express reported. By decorating the street with attractive hanging plants and new artwork, the Alliance for Downtown New York is hoping to send a clear message that Maiden Lane is open for business.
With much of Maiden Lane shrouded by scaffolding due to ongoing construction, local merchants also are making their own efforts to improve the look of their store fronts in hopes of attracting more customers. As they await the announcement of which artists will be participating in the new project, community members expressed their gratitude to the Downtown Alliance for its work so far, reports the Downtown Express.
Minority Contractors Get More Work
July 16th: Amid a surge of construction projects in New York City, opportunities for minority contractors have increased dramatically over the past 10 years, Crain's New York Business reported. According to the Crain's report, some community groups credit the improvement to increased pressure on development firms to hire minority workers.
Over the past two years, government agencies have worked to increase the amount of work minority contractors are getting in the city. The City Council and the Department of Small Business Services are among the agencies that have focused on this issue. The School of Construction Authority also has made strong efforts to set up mentoring programs that help train, advise, and promote minority workers.
Chambers Street Cashing In on New Image of Downtown
July 18th: Chambers Street is stepping it up a notch as it welcomes a new class of high-end retailers to what has long been been a highly commercial area. According to Metro New York, construction of an estimated 1,000 residential units is already underway, which developers hope will prove an ideal market for the new retail stores.
In fact, as plans progress for the new World Trade Center site -- sitting just five blocks south of Chambers Street -- developers increasingly are realizing the potential that the redeveloped downtown area will have on attracting a new breed of retailers, Metro reported. Upscale restaurants, wine shops, and a Starbucks have already found a home on the busy downtown street.