June 8th - June 14th, 2007
JP Morgan Chase to Locate Headquarters at WTC
June 14th: Governor Eliot Spitzer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that investment banking firm JP Morgan Chase has entered into a $300 million agreement to lease and develop office space at the World Trade Center complex.
The investment firm will occupy space in a new tower to be built at 130 Liberty Street, the site of the former Deutsche Bank building. The firm plans to build a 40-story, 1.3-million-square-foot skyscraper on the property, which will serve as its operational headquarters and house 7,000 employees. For more on this story, please click here.
Bloomberg Appoints New NYC Health Czar
June 12th: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the appointment of Jeffrey Hon as World Trade Center health czar, the New York Times reported. Hon will advise the mayor on health issues related to 9/11 and oversee the city's response to employees exposed to toxic dust following the attacks. Formerly, Hon worked as a public relations specialist and spokesperson for the American Red Cross September 11 Recovery Program, which provided financial assistance for mental and physical healthcare for those most affected by the events of 9/11.
Bloomberg Calls for Green Measures in Municipal Buildings
June 12th: Mayor Michael Bloomberg took another step toward his vision for a greener New York this week, announcing plans to outfit municipal buildings with solar panels. The new proposal is one of several eco-friendly initiatives currently underway as part of Bloomberg's master PlaNYC.
In addition to solar panels, municipal buildings will be required to buy heating oil containing biofuels, according to the Times. Together the initiatives suggest that the city is actively working to supplement its aging power plants and demonstrate the Bloomberg administration's commitment to reducing the city's impact on climate change, the Times continued.
Downtown Residents Face Twice the Average Rent Increase
June 11th: Rents are rising for Lower Manhattan residents as office vacancy rates continue to drop. Referencing a new report by Cushman & Wakefield, the Real Deal reported that market observers are concerned that the drop in vacancy rates marks an imbalance of power between landlords and tenants.
Experts say that in order to maintain an equal balance of power, the rate of vacancy should fall between 7 and 9 percent. In April 2007, Lower Manhattan's vacancy rate dropped to 6.7 percent -- the lowest on record -- signifying a potential advantage for landlords over residents in rent negotiations.
According to the report, the average increase for downtown rents -- 4.1 percent from March to April 2007 -- is more than twice the average increase for Manhattan as a whole (1.9 percent) over the same period.
Cobblestone Fundraiser Launched for WTC Memorial
June 11th: As part of continuing fundraising efforts for the World Trade Center Memorial, the WTC Memorial Foundation developed a program that offers interested donors the opportunity to purchase cobblestones in memory of those who perished during the attacks, the Daily News reports. The cobblestones will one day line the walkways in the finished plaza. For now, the money will go toward funding the $510 million memorial and museum project.
The cobblestones cost $500 each and can be purchased by an individual donor or shared by several. The cost of the stone is considered a donation and is therefore entirely tax deductible. No names or identification will appear on the cobblestones themselves, but donors will receive a numbered certificate that will enable them to locate the stone they purchased once the grounds are laid.
According to the report, $250 million of the total cost of the project will be raised from private donors while the other $260 million will be provided by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Another $80 million in construction costs are expected for the visitors' center, which will be part of the memorial complex. Funds for the center will be provided by New York State.
For more information about this campaign, visit the WTC Memorial Foundation website or call (877) WTC-GIVE.
BPC Residents Rally for Stop Signs Return
June 8th: Battery Park City residents have expressed concern regarding stop signs that were recently removed by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) from three intersections in the northern part of the neighborhood, the Downtown Express reported. The signs were taken down on River Terrace (at Murray and Warren Streets) and North End Avenue (at Murray Street).
Residents are concerned that the removal of the traffic signs will increase both the number of cars that cut around streets to avoid those with actual traffic signals and the speed at which they do so. In addition to the usual traffic from adult pedestrians, the crossings in question lead to a local park in which many neighborhood children play.
DOT has assured residents that it will return to the site and continue to study it for further developments, but at present the agency has not agreed to replace the signs.