January 20th - January 26th, 2006
Congress Requests Appointment of Health Czar for WTC Cleanup Workers
Monday, January 23: U.S. Representatives Vito Fossella and Carolyn Maloney urged the federal government to appoint a heath czar to deal with the physical repercussions on local residents and recovery workers of the World Trade Center cleanup efforts, the New York Times reported. Twenty-three Ground Zero workers have passed away, and Rep. Fossella told the Daily News, "The number of deaths becomes a clarion call to do more and to do better. These are Americans who responded to a tragedy, and we need to help them."
This bipartisan demand for action stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by 5,200 workers alleging that not enough was done by the City of New York and its contractors to protect responders from a toxic environment at Ground Zero, the Daily News reported. Maloney was quoted in the paper as saying, "More than four years later, thousands of 9/11 responders are sick and they seem to have been forgotten."
Seventy-five million dollars has been earmarked for treatment of the responders by the Bush administration, but the delegation from New York does not think this will be enough to treat the thousands of workers they expect to need help in the years to come, the paper added.
A Second Wall Unearthed Below Battery Park
Monday, January 23: Workers digging in Battery Park to rebuild the South Ferry station hit a second wall in the project, the New York Times reported. Archeologists believe this wall, and the one found last month, date back to when New York was a British colony. However, city officials are unsure when the wall was constructed and what purpose it served, the paper continued.
Rather than halt construction on the project, Bernard Cohen, director of the Lower Manhattan Recovery Office, decided to have the pieces cataloged, removed in chunks using chisels and rubber mallets, and placed in crates, the paper added.
In terms of delays, Mysore L. Nagaraja, president of the M.T.A. Capital Construction Company, told the Times that only "a few weeks are lost." For more information on the discovery of the first wall, click here.
Construction to Commence at WTC Site
Tuesday, January 24: Construction will begin on the World Trade Center site this year with over 1,000 construction workers building the PATH Terminal, the World Trade Center Memorial, and the Freedom Tower, the Daily News reported.
"It's going to be a year when people are actually going to start seeing activity," Port Authority Executive Director, Kenneth Ringler, told the Daily News. Many of the projects will begin with excavation projects for subway lines and underground parking structures, the paper added.
More than 50,000 cubic yards of concrete are expected to be poured this year into the 16-acre World Trade Center (WTC) site owned by the Port Authority, the Daily News reported. Construction has already commenced on the Goldman Sachs building and the Fulton Street Transit Center, the paper continued. Ringler, who is calling this year "the year of the hardhat," says that it is only a warm-up for the years to come, the paper added.
China Center Planned for 7 World Trade
Wednesday, January 25: Beijing Vantone, a major Chinese real estate developer, has signed a term sheet agreement for floors 48 through 52 of 7 World Trade Center, which will make it an anchor tenant of the skyscraper scheduled to open this April, Newsday reported. Vantone plans to turn the five floors into the "China Center" for Chinese companies seeking to locate in New York and for international and U.S. firms interested in investing China.
According to the preliminary agreement, Beijing Vantone will rent 200,000 square feet of space and expects to have about 800 people working in the China Center, Newsday reported. Vantone is the largest tenant that Silverstein Properties has secured at 7 World Trade, which has had difficulties finding tenants, the paper continued. Other tenants include Ameriprise Financial Inc., American Express, and the New York Academy of Sciences, the paper added.
Chambers Street Station Repair Going Slowly
Wednesday, January 25: On January 23, 2005, a fire broke out in the Chambers Street subway station's signal relay room, disrupting service on the A and C lines for nine days while workers set up a temporary signal system, the New York Times reported. The interlocking machine that controlled the track switches and speed signals, which was built in 1931, was completely destroyed in the fire, the paper added.
A year later, permanent repairs have been held up as new plans include repairs to two nearby stations, the paper continued. MTA officials expect to award a contract for the work between April and June of this year, for a project that may end up costing more than $150 million, the New York Times reported.
The fire affected more than 258 signal circuits because of damage to 300 wires that comprised 35 cables, the paper continued. The MTA plans to outfit 223 signal relay rooms with fire alarm systems that will cost approximately $8.3 million, the paper added.
Swedish Company Awarded Transportation Hub Contract
Thursday, January 26: Skanska AB, a Swedish construction company, was awarded a $358 million contract by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the transportation hub at the World Trade Center site, Newsday reported.
In July, Skanska was awarded a $133 million contract to help construct the Fulton Street Transit Center, which will connect ferries, commuter trains, and 11 subway lines near the World Trade Center site, the paper continued. The transportation hub, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, is set for completion by 2009.
Mayor Bloomberg Discusses Lower Manhattan in his State of the City Address
Thursday, January 26: During his State of the City Address, delivered at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island, Mayor Michael Bloomberg discussed the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and the need to push past "individual financial interests and focus on what's best for our city." He advocated having Silverstein Properties reliquish control over building Towers 3 and 4, in exchange for a drop in rental fees. His plan also includes urging the Port Authority to commit to occupying Tower 3 and beautifying Governors Island.
The mayor made clear that he does not want the World Trade Center to be a construction site for the next 15 years. He said, "That means it's time to pick up the pace of commercial construction, and to build for uses that reflect the realities of the market and the needs of Lower Manhattan -- like the retail development that's so crucial to linking the site back into the life of the city."
Bloomberg envisions a "vibrant, 24/7 community" in Lower Manhattan with a mix of commercial and residential buildings, hotels, and retail stores lining the streets that will make the area "one of the most energetic and exciting neighborhoods in New York." He added, "We believe that by taking all of these steps, the next four years will see the rebirth of Lower Manhattan as the world's financial capital and as a thriving residential, retail, and waterfront community."