September 15th - September 21st, 2012
Multimillion-Dollar WTC Arts Center Faces Funding Crunch
September 15 - Construction of a new $400 million arts center on the site of the former World Trade Center, designed by "the most important architect of our age," has proved to be a complicated task that has had difficulty meeting its fundraising targets to boot, Reuters reported. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Lower Manhattan Performing Arts Center is planned to be built over a temporary commuter subway station, on the 6.5-hectare WTC complex. The center will house a 1,000-seat theater, and will sit on top of underground railway tracks, with no support columns. Earlier this week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) reported that it did not have room in its budget for the $1 million in funds the arts center requested to hire staff. The center is also waiting for the LMDC -- whose primary objective is to revitalize the part of the city devastated by the 9/11 attacks -- to provide $155 million in allocated funding. Assuming the financial problems are resolved in the near future, the center could open ahead of its 2017 target.
Westfield Ramps Up to Begin Leasing WTC Retail
September 15 - Westfield is ramping up its efforts to market and lease the roughly 365,000 square feet of retail space that is being constructed at the World Trade Center several sources say. According to the Commercial Observer, the company, one of the largest owners and operators of retail and mall space in the U.S.,leased an office high in 7 World Trade Center and has installed a sophisticated marketing suite that it is using to woo big name tenants. Meanwhile, a high powered team of top leasing and development executives are being flown in from around the world to staff the office and handle dealmaking for the project. Westfield, the former operator of the WTC retail before the attacks of 9/11, is betting big on the site $612.5 million for a 50 percent stakein the project in partnership with the Port Authority, which is developing the retail. With the above-ground portions of the Memorial finished, 4 WTC approaching completion next year, 1 WTC not far behind that and other major components of the site such as the transit hub taking shape, tenant interest has begun to build in the complex. Before the attacks that destroyed it, the WTC retail was widely considered the top-selling mall in the country.
Occupy Wall Street Anniverary Protests Dwarfed by NYPD Presence
September 17 - Occupy Wall Street protesters poured into the Financial District today to mark the first anniversary of the movement, but their presence was dwarfed by riot-gear-clad police, who set up metal barriers and formed human walls to pacify the demonstrators. ABC News and other news outlets reported that hundreds of protesters scattered into the area, and about 100 protesters have either been detained or arrested in the demonstration near the New York Stock Exchange, where several police buses were seen filled with activists. At times it seemed the mass of the protest was made up more by the media covering the event than by anyone with a political agenda. The momentum waned with the start of the business day, with businessmen in Ralph Lauren polo button-downs replacing the hand-painted shirts favored by the movement. Demonstrators had hoped their protest today would help rekindle the movement, which spawned tent cities around the globe and became a rallying point for the "99 percent." Forty-two people were arrested for disorderly conduct this weekend. Saturday began three days of festivities planned to re-energize the movement, which fell into disarray after countless arrests and an eviction from Zuccotti Park in November.
Pace University to Add New Dorm, Arts Building in Lower Manhattan
September 17 - Pace University in expanding its campus in Lower Manhattan, reported the NY Daily News. The university plans to add student housing and a new performing arts building. University President Stephen Friedmantold the Wall Street Journal that while many view Pace as a commuter school that is no longer the case. He said as enrollment increases, more students want to live on campus. Pace has signed a deal to develop a new 29-story dormitory on Beekman Street that will house about 600 students. Development is slated to be complete in 2015. A 24-story, 609-bed hall of residence and retail space on nearby Broadway is expected to be done by early 2013. The school has 13,500 students at it three campuses in Manhattan and two in Westchester County.
City Plans Competition to Help Fix Pier 40 and Downtown Waterfront
September 19 - The city is looking for new ways to fix the crumbling Pier 40 and repair rotting pilings along the Lower Manhattan shoreline -- offering nearly $100,000 in prize money for the winning bids, reported DNAinfo.com. The city Economic Development Corporation plans to launch a new construction competition called Change the Course, asking entrants to come up with new ideas to shore up the city's decaying waterfront, which is the focus of several major redevelopment bids. According to the full request released Thursday, the competition asks engineers and construction companies to come up with new, innovative ideas to keep the borers at bay. Companies have been asked to focus on two areas: the structures between the old Fulton Fish Market at the South Street Seaport, Pier 35 in Lower Manhattan, and the Hudson River Park Pier 40. Both the Seaport and Pier 40 are being eyed for potential development in the coming years, and finding cheaper ways to improve supporting infrastructure would give them a boost.
Contest Seeks to Lure Firms to Lower Manhattan
September 19 - New York City is offering cash prizes to lure companies in fields such as media and technology to the financial district. The Wall Street Journal report that Mayor Michael Bloombergs administration will hold a contest with prizes up to $250,000 to encourage firms to move to downtown Manhattan and stay there. The goal is to fill buildings including the rebuilt World Trade Center and the neighboring World Financial Center with diverse tenants. City officials hope to broaden the mix of companies in the area beyond the financial services firms that have historically been based there. Companies that enter the contest will have to show they can bring "the best and the brightest" to the neighborhood. The competition includes $10,000 grants for as many as 20 finalists.
Demolition Begins on Governors Island
September 19 - On September 13, demolition of four decrepit high-rise buildings on Governors Island began as part of a $250 million plan to improve the topography and infrastructure of the island, reported the Downtown Express.In their place will be nothing but wide, open space. The buildings housed military families up until 1996, and have been out of use since. They have also been off-limits to the public, deemed unsafe to enter and are classified as non-historic buildings. The northern historic district area of the island, which visitors use today, will remain intact. In the absence of these buildings, a clear, 360-degree view of New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan will be opened up, just one step in the endeavor to overhaul a good part of the island and turn it into green space. Back in May, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other elected officials broke ground on Phase One of the project, a 30-acre renovation that will change the entire topography of the island. The Bloomberg administration has invested a total of $250 million in the island revitalization, according to Elizabeth Rapuano, a spokesperson for the Trust for Governors Island, the organization tasked with redevelopment, operations and planning. All of this work is part of the islands Park and Public Space Master Plan, devised by urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8.