March 28th - April 1st, 2011
Frank Museum Moving Downtown
March 28 – The Anne Frank museum is moving to Lower Manhattan. The nonprofit Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, has signed a lease at 100 Church Street, making it neighbors to the proposed Ground Zero mosque. The New York Post the museum’s windows will overlook Park 51, the controversial 16 story mosque, two blocks from Ground Zero. The museum currently rents space at 38 Crosby Street in SoHo. According to The New York Post, the move would be more evidence that lower Manhattan is becoming a Mecca for religious and cultural groups of all stripes.
Leasing Market Active
March 29 – Three million square feet of office space was leased in February, a banner month, according to Crain’s New York Business. Leasing activity has surpassed the nine-year monthly average for six months in a row. That's only the sixth time that's happened in the city since Cushman & Wakefield Inc. started keeping monthly statistics in 2002. The paper reported, if the roaring pace holds up, 2011 could go into the records as the best year ever in the Manhattan office market. The record was set in 1998, when 33.1 million square feet were leased. A combination of pent-up demand and companies renewing or moving early to take advantage of recession-lowered rents is driving the activity, said Ken McCarthy, senior managing director of research at Cushman.
Fulton Street Transit Center on Schedule
March 29 – There have been lots of delays and cost overruns at the Hub, but now Curbed.com is reporting that the latest update from the MTA says The transit center is more than 50 percent done, steel is going up now, following the installation of Broadway's 100-foot tower crane and that part of the project should be done by the end of the year. Restoration of the landmark Corbin Building is still on track for the end of 2012.
Costs of Building Construction Rise Again
March 30 – Construction costs increased as much as 2.68% last year and are on track to rise as much as 2.86% this quarter; labor rates in city projects account for up to 60% of building expenses. The report in Crain’s New York Business also said Average construction costs rose between 0.54% and 2.68% in 2010 following a recession-driven drop in 2009, according to a review of several surveys by the New York Building Congress. The surveys predict that costs will continue to increase in the first quarter of 2011, by 0.76%, and 2.86%, respectively.
Lower Manhattan Experiences Population Boom
March 30 – The number of people living below Canal Street has nearly doubled since 9-11. The Associated Press says the latest Census figures shows Lower Manhattan is becoming one of the City’s fastest growing neighborhoods. Census figures released last week show that the number of people living on the blocks around the World Trade Center has swelled by nearly 23,000 people since 2000. About 45,750 people now live there.
Identifying WTC Remains Susceptible to Budget Cuts
March 30 – The city medical examiner told NBC TV budget cuts threaten the DNA matching effort for the more than 1,120 who still have no identified remains. Charles Hirsch told a City Council budget hearing Monday that the job of matching remains for the hundreds of unidentified dead is in peril if the city does not restore a $16 million cut to his agency's funding. The Legislature has not yet voted on the state spending plan.
Plaza to be built on the Former 130 Liberty Site
March 31 – The $800,000 concrete plaza is scheduled to open in September. DNAINFO.com reports the LMDC board voted to turn the former Deutsche bank site into a welcoming and ticketing area for tourists heading to the 9-11 Memorial. "This area is critical to ensuring a smooth flow of visitors that does not impact the surrounding streets and sidewalks," Joe Daniels, President of the Memorial said. The concrete platform will be at street level, surrounded by a fence, so it will not have views into the World Trade Center site. It will only be open to visitors who have reserved timed tickets to the memorial.
LMDC Approves Budget
April 1- The LMDC board voted to reduce the agency’s budget, but it still plans to spend $3.2 million on administrative costs in the next year. According to DNAINFO.COM, Chairman Avi Schick said the agency is beginning to wind down and 40% of the staff will be cut, mostly those who worked on the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building. The board also voted to cut the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center's budget from $15 million to $9 million. The LMCCC will work more closely with the LMDC to share administrative and communications staff and will cut its programs in fraud prevention and minority recruitment.