April 4th - April 8th, 2011
Manhattan Commercial Market Shows Strength in First Quarter
April 4 - Vacancies are continuing to decline and more companies are hiring new employees. Those two factors, according to Crains New York Business, pushed rents higher throughout Manhattan, with Lower Manhattan being the exception. The vacancy rate in lower Manhattan declined to 12.4 percent in the first quarter from 12.8 percent, with the improvement especially noteworthy in Class-A buildings. The vacancy rate in those buildings fell to 10.2 percent from 10.9 percent the previous quarter. The average asking rent downtown also improved. In Class-A buildings, it went up to $41.86 per square foot from $40.95 per square foot. Downtown is recovering but not at the same pace as midtown, said Mr. Konsker, noting that midtown tenants arent being priced out of midtown to the extent they were a few years ago.
Trial Begins for Deadly Deutsche Bank Fire
April 4 - The trial gets underway in the deadly Deutsche Bank fire. Opening statements are expected Monday in the manslaughter trial involving the 2007 fire at the former Deutsche Bank building. WABC TV reported prosecutors will put construction workers are at fault. The defense is expected to argue that the state, city and missed safety inspections are the real reason that firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino died. Three construction supervisors and a subcontractor are charged with manslaughter. Prosecutors say defendants Mitchel Alvo, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaola let a break in a crucial firefighting water pipe go unfixed and even took steps to conceal it. The defense will likely put the blame on the city, accusing it of creating unsafe conditions at the building. The defendants say they are small-time scapegoats for a fire fueled by others' mistakes.
New High-tech LED Signs Along Free Downtown Shuttle Route
April 4 - Getting around Lower Manhattan just became easier. The Battery Park City Broadsheet Daily reports the Downtown Alliance has installed new electronic signs that tell riders when the next Connection shuttle bus will arrive. The LED signs have been installed at eight of the routes 37 stops, thanks to a grant from Goldman Sachs. More than 900,000 people use the shuttle to get around Lower Manhattan every year.
9/11 Relatives Criticize Plans to Place Remains Underground
April 4 - Family members and supporters gathered just steps from Ground Zero to lobby city officials to call on the September 11 Memorial to find an aboveground site for more than 9,000 unidentified pieces of human remains. "We were always led to believe by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation that we would have a separate, aboveground tomb-like structure," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died at the World Trade Center. The current plan would house the remains seven stories below ground. The familiesmight consider legal action in the future but have no current plans to sue, according to WNBC TV.
Terror Trials Will Not Be Held in Lower Manhattan.
April 5 - In a reversal, the Obama administration now plans to send Khalid Sheikh Mohmammed and four accused co-conspirators to a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Crains New York Business reported the President reconsidered his decision to hold the trial in Lower Manhattan after strong objections from officials in New York who said the September 11th, 2001-related trial would pose a safety risk.
NYC Allocates $16 Million to Help Identify 9/11 Remains
April 5 - Budget cuts threatened to disrupt the task of identifying thousands of human remains at the WTC site. But DNAINFO.COM reports the Mayors office will provide the funds needed to offset State cuts to the Chief Medical Examiners office. The state's 27 percent cut would have forced the layoffs of nearly a third of the 600-person staff and would severely hamper efforts to identify 9/11 remains. Only about 40 percent of those who died in the World Trade Center attack have been identified by the recovered remains. The medical examiner's office sill has thousands of bone fragments and other remains that are awaiting testing.
Silverstein Properties to Announce a $900 Million WTC Bond Sale
April 5 - The sale of fixed-rate municipal bonds will refinance debt issued in 2009 as part of the Liberty Bond program to build Tower 4. Bloomberg News reports Silverstein had postponed the bond issue for the 1.8 million-square-foot (167,220-square-meter) Tower 4 since December, as concerns about state and local government finances and a flood of issuance drove 30-year interest rates on municipal bonds to two-year highs. The new debt for Tower 4 will mature in 2031, 2041 and 2047.
7 WTC Lands Another Major Tenant
April 6 - Law firm WilmerHale has signed on for five floors at Silverstein Properties 7 World Trade Center, in whats described as the first leasing deal in the city to incorporate a newly devised green template. GlobeSt.com reports the lease is an energy-aligned green lease developed in part by the city, allowing both landlords and tenants to invest in energy-efficiency improvements and subsequent savings. WilmerHale signed for 210,000 square feet, making 7 WTC 90 percent leased.