May 19th - May 23rd, 2008
Construction Halted at Goldman Sachs Site
May 19 – Construction was halted at the Goldman Sachs building at 200 Murray Street, after a sheet of steel fell from the 18th floor around 4 pm Saturday and landed on a baseball field where Little Leaguers were playing. City officials say no one was hurt. The general contractor, Tishman Construction, was hit with five violations. The 30 inch square piece of sheet metal came from an exterior elevator which is used to transport materials. Angry parents are demanding that construction on the site be halted while the children play baseball. Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said construction at the site will not continue until Tishman can assure the city that the building is safe. Tishman is cooperating in the investigation and is reviewing its safety procedures.
City Hires Additional Safety Inspectors
May 19- Mayor Bloomberg announced the city will hire 63 more safety inspectors to protect the public from construction hazards. The new hires will bring the total number of buildings inspectors at the Department of Buildings to 461 at a cost of $5.3 million. Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said, “This will put more inspectors on the ground to conduct more surprise inspections and increase the incentive for developers and contractors to comply with safety regulations.”
Investigation into 130 Liberty Fire Continues
May 20 – Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau says his office is still a couple of months away from ‘getting to the bottom’ of the deadly fire last August at the Deutsche Bank which killed two firefighters. The Daily News reports prosecutors have subpoenaed 3 million documents from the Buildings and Fire Departments and a grand jury has been hearing evidence since November 29. Morgenthau vowed “to find who’s responsible” for the missteps that contributed to the fire.
Verizon Looking for Tenant
May 20 – It looks like the proposed makeover of the Verizon building at 375 Pearl Street is dependent on finding an anchor tenant for the building. According to The New York Post, Taconic Investment Partners is rethinking plans to make expensive upgrades to the windowless building until it lands a tenant that will sign a lease for 300,000 feet of space.
Freedom Tower Reaches Street Level
May 20 – A milestone was reached this week at the Freedom tower. For the first time, steel reached street level. Two of the 24 huge columns were installed around the perimeter of the Freedom Tower; each column is 23 feet long, weighs about 55,200 pounds and rise about 15 feet above street level. The remaining 22 columns will be installed in the next two months. The Port Authority held a photo- op for reporters to mark the event.
Schick to Resign
May 20 – Empire State Development President Avi Schick announced he will be stepping down in September. Governor Paterson is in the midst of looking for a new chairman and a new structure for the agency, which under former Governor Spitzer, had dual downstate chairmen and one upstate chairman. The New York Observer is reporting that a search committee, led by ex-Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill is expected to recommend a nominee to head ESDC in a few weeks.
Syms to Expand Store
May 20 – Syms has struck an $8 million deal to buy 67 Greenwich Street, a small building which is adjacent to its flagship store at 42 Trinity Place. The New York Post reports the building which is an historic landmark, has 33,000 square feet of air rights which Syms can use to expand its 40,000 SF store. The report says Syms plans to redevelop the site into a 40 story luxury skyscraper; Syms had no comment.
Construction Security Precautions Requested
May 21 – In the aftermath of the construction accident at the Goldman Sachs building, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called on the city to halt weekend construction work in Lower Manhattan at least for the duration of the Little League season. Silver also said full floor netting should be used to stop construction materials from falling.
Job Losses Expected
May 21 – A report from the Independent Budget Office predicts the city will lose approximately 70,000 jobs over the next year because of the national recession. Those job losses include approximately 33,000 in the financial services sector and approximately 7,000 jobs in the construction field.
Ground Zero Responders Continue to Suffer
May 21 – Ground Zero responders suffer from high rates of post traumatic stress according to a study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Researchers studied approximately 10,000 workers and found 1 in 10 reported depression, disturbing flashbacks, nightmares and alcohol abuse. Several lawmakers are calling on the federal government to support health care for Ground Zero responders.
Silverstein Granted Extension
May 23 – The Port Authority board voted to give Larry Silverstein a six month extension – until August 2013- to complete his Tower 3 at 175 Greenwich Street. The extra time was granted as Merrill Lynch is in discussions with the Port Authority and developer Larry Silverstein to move its headquarters to Tower 3. Several published reports say the six month extension in the construction process will allow Silverstein to redesign the building to accommodate large trading floors and custom mechanical systems. The building could become larger and the redesign could change the tower’s architecture. Work on the foundation for Tower 3 began in January. Merrill Lynch is expected to seek significant government tax breaks similar to what its rivals, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have been granted. Merrill’s lease at its current downtown home at the World Financial Center expires in 2013. The Board also gave Silverstein a four month extension for Towers 3 and 4 which will be completed by Spring 2012.
The PA to Study Radio System
May 23 – The Port Authority board also voted to spend $5 million to study options for a state of the art security center and emergency radio system at the WTC. The security center would serve five skyscrapers, the memorial and the transit hub. Still undecided is whether to locate the center on the site or above or below ground.