March 9th - March 13th, 2009
PA Agrees to City Inspections
March 9 – In a surprise announcement, the Port Authority has agreed to allow NYC inspections to shut down construction projects at the WTC site if there are crane safety violations. Right now, the PA has 24 cranes on the site and will continue to be responsible for erecting, dismantling and operating the cranes. The PA will need DOB approval before installing and operating the cranes. The agreement came about after several fatal crane accidents in the City in the past year.
WTC site to Stimulate Jobs
March 9 – The Port Authority is projecting that 26,000 jobs will be created at the WTC site between now and 2016. Several published reports say the massive construction project downtown is likely to generate $14.5 billion in economic activity. PA Executive Director Chris Ward said, “It’s more than just steel, bricks and mortar. It’s a real stimulus to the local economy.”
Majority of Victims Families Resolve Suit
March 9 – A $500 million settlement has been reached resolving 92 of the 95 lawsuits from the families of victims of 9-11 against several airlines. These families chose to sue the airlines and airport security instead of taking money from the $7 billion in the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund. The remaining families say they still want to go to trial with their wrongful death cases.
Rector Street Bridge Temporarily Closes
March 9 – The Rector Street Bridge will be closed for repairs for 8 weeks, starting March 18. The bridge was built as a temporary span in 2002 and was expected to stay in place for only 5 years. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) will replace the staircase of the east side and the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) will resurface the bridge and the ramp on the west side. The DOT says safety improvements have been made at the Albany Street intersection to accommodate pedestrians while the Rector Street Bridge is closed. The BPCA also told The Battery Park Broadsheet that the agency is working with a wireless company to install an emergency telephone system in the elevator at the Bridge for handicapped access. The elevator’s been off line for several months because users couldn’t call for assistance.
School Signs New Lease
March 9 – Claremont Prep school signed a lease for 200,000 square feet at 50 Park Place, also known as 100 Church Street. According to The Downtown Express, the school will house its middle and high school classes in the building starting in the fall of 2010. Claremont will build classrooms, a cafeteria, gym, pool, two basketball courts and a recording studio in the building at a cost of approximately $30 million.
Stop Work Order Issued at Tower 4
March 11- The City issued a stop work order at the Tower 4 site at the WTC after a contractor lifted a 50,000 pound crane boom over Church Street without a permit. The incident happened last Thursday while hundreds of pedestrians were walking below. It’s the first time the City has taken such an action after a deal was reached last week with the Port Authority giving the City the power to issue violations for crane safety.
Hachette Filipacchi Media Scouting Lower Manhattan
March 9 – Two published reports indicate publishing giant Hachette Filipacchi Media is scouting for space in Lower Manhattan. The New York Post and GlobeSt. Com say the company, which publishes Elle, Woman’s Day and Car and Driver magazines, could slice the company’s current rental costs in half with a move downtown. The company is currently located at 1633 Broadway.
Silverstein and Port Authority Negotiate
March 11 – The New York Observer reports developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority are quietly negotiating a new agreement to build the 3 office towers at the WTC site. The current agreement, signed in 2006, says if he does not complete the towers by 2014, he would default on his lease and the PA would claim ownership of the three buildings. Sources say Silverstein has a plan for the PA to back the financing of his towers because the economic crisis has made it nearly impossible for Silverstein to borrow the money needed for the three towers. An agreement could be announced in the next few weeks.
Crane Accident Avoidable
March 12 – An engineering consulting firm, investigating a deadly crane collapse on the Upper East Side last March has concluded that the accident could have been avoided if workers had used chains and not polyester straps when hoisting the crane’s collar. The report also found the rigs were attached to the wrong place on the crane. A spokesman for the rigging company dismissed the report saying it was commissioned by the City and the City is trying to protect itself from liability.
Additional Cameras on site
March 13 – Project Rebirth, a documentary film project chronicling the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, announced it now has 13 time lapsed cameras focused on the WTC site. The 13th camera is solar powered, was custom built for Project Rebirth and is located at street level on Church Street to film the construction of Tower 4. According to a press release from Project Rebirth, the documentary film will be released in 2010, and will weave the stories of a diverse group of people into the time lapse footage to reflect the New York community’s efforts to cope with and rebuild following 9/11. Rebirth’s cameras will continue filming until the completion of the site, and it will be featured in the National 9/11 Memorial Museum at the WTC and archived in the Library of Congress.
Bovis to Pay Fees
March 13 – There are 17 outstanding violations totaling approximately $22,800 in penalties owed to the City from the John Galt Company resulting from its work on the Deutsche Bank building. The Downtown Express reported the violations date back to before the fatal fire in August 2007 and must be resolved before the demolition work on the building resumes in the middle of May. A spokesman for Bovis Lend Lease said the back fees would be paid and the violations were corrected immediately.
Governorâ€™s Island to Remain Open
March 13 – Mayor Bloomberg is proposing that the City take control of Governor’s Island because it appears the State will not have the resources to continue operating it. At Thursday’s Board meeting of GIPEC, The Governor’s Island Preservation and Education Corporation, Avi Schick downplayed the notion of a financial problem and the Board approved an austerity budget for the Island of $11.8 million with the hope that the State comes up with $6 million by April. The Mayor, referring to his proposal for a City takeover of Governor’s Island said, “It’s a good deal for the state.” Mr. Schick told reporters the Island will be open this summer.
Jury Rules in Victims Favor
March 13 – A woman who worked in the WTC and was in the basement garage at the time of the 1993 bombing has been awarded $7 million for injuries she sustained. The Port Authority disputed her claims of brain and lung damage, but a Manhattan jury ruled in her favor. Linda Nash, now 65, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder; she had sued for $13 million.