May 19th - May 25th, 2012
Westfield Sends $94M Check to Consummate WTC Retail Deal
May 18 - By sending the first installment of a $612.5 million payment to the Port Authority, Westfield Group officially sealed the deal to take a 50 percent stake in theWorld Trade Centers 460,000 square feet of retail space, the New York Post reported. While the deal had been in the works for nearly 11 years and had been officially approved in February, without yesterdays $93.9 million payment, the agreement could have failed to come to fruition. Westfield will develop, lease and operate 365,000 square feet of retail space in 3 WTC, 4 WTC and the Transportation Hub. The deal also includes more than 90,000 square feet of retail planned for the base of 2 WTC when it is developed in the future.
Widow of Firefighter Killed in Deutsche Bank Fire to Settle for $10 Million
May 20 - The city and the construction firm responsible for safety lapses at the former 130 Liberty building has agreed to settle with the widow of a firefighter killed in the deadly 2007 blaze. A story in the New York Daily News states that Linda Graffagnino, the wife of one of two firefighters that were killed in the blaze at the compromised Ground Zero building, will receive $9 million from Bovis Lend Lease, and another $1 million from the city. Her husband, Joseph Graffagnino, died of smoke inhalation in the August 18, 2007 fire at the age of 33, leaving behind his infant son, and 3-year-old daughter. John Meringolo, the family attorney, confirmed the figure but declined to speak about the settlement.
Port Authority Seeks Security Boss
May 21 - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking for its first Chief Security Officer to head a newly created Security Department within the bi-state agency, reported the Broadsheet. The search follows the plans unanimous approval last month at the agency board meeting. A spokesperson for the Port Authority said that the centralized security department will improve security communication and responsiveness. The Port estimates that in the last year alone, the agency moved 104 million airport customers, 74 million PATH riders, 121 million vehicles at our tunnels and bridges, nearly 76 million bus passengers, and 5.2 million cargo container units through local ports.
Mayor Bloomberg Says 9/11 Sphere Should Remain in Battery Park
May 21 - DNAInfo.com reported that despite Port Authority opposition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the iconic 9/11 sphere should remain in Battery Park, he said Monday. Bloomberg lent his voice to the wave of critics who have decried the Port Authority plan to movethe Fritz Koenig Sphere -- the dented, bronze sculpture that was pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and became a symbol of hope and resilience following the 9/11 attacks -- out of Battery Park. Bloomberg told that leaving the sphere in its current location helps visitors understand the scope of the impact of the attacks. Still, Bloomberg said that, once a new location is chosen, he wont interfere with the Port Authority relocation decision. The Port released a statement on May 11 saying that it would announce a new, temporary home for the sculpture last week -- but has yet to make an announcement about its fate.
2015 Opening Expected for World Trade Center Retail
May 22 - The first shops could throw open their doors in the redeveloped World Trade Center by March 2015, Australian mall operator Westfield said on Monday, 13-and-a-half years after the New York landmark was destroyed in the September 11 attacks. Reuters reported that the redevelopment of the World Trade Center is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. After years of negotiation, Westfield last week signed a deal with the Port Authority for a $1.25 billion joint venture to lease the retail space at the World Trade Center. The company said the first retailers for the redeveloped site could be announced by the first half of 2013, with an opening date set for March 2015. Potential tenants of the rebuilt World Trade Center got a peek at what the new shopping area may look like during a trade conference in Las Vegas on Monday. Westfield Co-Chief Executive Peter Lowy said 352,000 sq feet of shopping would be spread over three above-ground levels and two below ground. Westfield is also entitled to operate another 90,000 sq feet of retail space among the 8.8 million sq feet of office space under construction.
Repairs to Pier A Will Finish by the End of 2012
May 22 - The new Pier A is finally taking shape, according to DNAInfo.com. After months of delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns, workers are making progress on repairing the landmarked 126-year-old pier at the tip of Lower Manhattan and will finish by the end of the year, Gayle Horwitz, president of the Battery Park City Authority, said Monday. The authority will then turn the pier over to a team of developers, including the Poulakakos family, to open an $18 million oyster bar and catering hall there. The new three-story bar and restaurant, along with a tourist information center and a new public plaza, is scheduled to open in the summer or early fall of 2013, Horwitz said. The authority initially expected to finish repairing the deteriorating Pier A by last summer, but the job is taking an extra 18 months because workerskept discovering rotting wood, Horwitz said at a City Council hearing on the Downtown waterfront Monday afternoon. As a result, the cost of the repairs rose from $30 million to $36 million, the authority said. Pier A, the last remaining historic pier building in Manhattan, opened in 1886 as headquarters for the New York Harbor Police and the Department of Docks. In 1919, a clock tower at the pier tip was dedicated as the US first World War I memorial.
1 World Trade Center Podium Facade Rendering Released
May 25 - The NY Post published the first image of how the base of 1 World Trade Center will look up close -- a shimmering, richly textured facade on four sides of glass, stainless steel and aluminum. The podium design by Skidmore Owings & Merrill is the end product of a long history that included the scraping of an earlier scheme over costs and fears its custom-fabricated glass would too easily shatter. The new image released by the skyscraper owners, the Port Authority and the Durst Organization, shows for the first time how its fortified base -- a cube 185-feet on each side -- will look to people arriving for work. The image promises a warmer welcome than initially expected. It is articulated by vertical glass fins protruding from panels of stainless steel slates. The fins will be arrayed in patterns that will vary as they move up the facade. Perforated aluminum screens behind the steel slates will be illuminated, making the entire tower podium glow by night -- a suitable companion to the lit-up base of 7 World Trade Center nearby.