September 23rd - September 29th, 2005
Deutsch Appointed to Downtown Alliance Post
Monday, September 26: The Alliance for Downtown New York announced that Eric J. Deutsch, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), will succeed Carl Weisbrod as the organization's president.
"We are tremendously pleased to have Eric Deutsch assume the helm of the Downtown Alliance at such an important time in Lower Manhattan's history," Robert R. Douglass, the Alliance's chairman, said in a statement. "His vast experience and knowledge in economic development, job creation, and community building and his work with all levels of government make him an ideal leader for the next phase of downtown's redevelopment."
Deutsch will resign from the BNYDC, where he's managed the 3.5 million square foot industrial park for the City of New York since 2002, and is expected to assume his post at the Alliance by November 1. Weisbrod, who served as president since 1995, stepped down in July to take on the role of executive vice president at Trinity Church and president of the Trinity Real Estate division.
Prior to leading the BNYDC, Deutsch served as the senior vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he also helped to spearhead the New York City Industrial Development Agency as its executive director.
Bloomberg Approves Legislation to Apply for New Empire Zone Downtown
Tuesday, September 27: Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation authorizing the City of New York to apply for a new Empire Zone district that would stimulate growth in Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
"A key component of they city's economic development policy is to provide incentives to help attract and grow businesses in different areas of the city. The New York State Empire Zones Program is an effective economic tool that accomplishes these goals," Bloomberg said in a statement.
A targeted state incentives program designed to aid areas experiencing long-term unemployment and economic disadvantage, the Empire Zone program works to increase growth in private investment, business development, and job creation through a set of tax credits and exemptions, which are provided by the state.
In early 2005, Gov. George Pataki signed a law that extended the Empire Zone program and identified the Chinatown/Lower East Side area as one of 12 areas in New York State eligible to request zone designation. Both Chinatown and Lower East Side qualify for the program because they have exhibited chronic economic disadvantage, which was severely aggravated after September 11, 2001.
Workers Discover Remains at 130 Liberty Street
Tuesday, September 27: Four years after the 9/11 attacks, workers preparing to deconstruct the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street discovered several bone fragments mixed in the gravel covering the building's roof, the New York Times reported.
The fragments, of which there were less than 10 and none much larger than two inches, were turned over by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which owns the building and is leading its deconstruction, to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for analysis, the paper explained.
While it is still unknown if the remains are human, it is possible that DNA could be extracted and allow for the identification of 9/11 victims. Before the medical examiner's office retired its efforts in August 2005, it recovered 19,964 human remains from Ground Zero and successfully identified 1,594 of the 2,749 victims, the Times said.
Three other coin-size bone fragments were also found on the rooftop of 130 Liberty Street in August 2002, the paper added. For more about the deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street, click here.
Trial Begins in 93 WTC Bombing Suit
Tuesday, September 27: After 12 years of legal delays, a civil trial began in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan to determine if the February 26, 1993, car bombing in the garage under the former World Trade Center could have been prevented, the New York Times reported.
The suit charges the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- the buildings' then landlord -- with negligence and failure to safeguard the WTC site against terrorism despite a 1985 agency security report that identified the garage as vulnerable to attack, the paper explained.
The Port Authority maintains that any attack was unforeseeable and that the agency should not be held accountable for the resultant deaths and injuries. If the court determines that the Port Authority can be held liable, separate lawsuits filed by hundreds of victims and business owners could move forward, the Times added.
Ceremonial Groundbreaking Marks Progress at African Burial Ground
Wednesday, September 28: Members of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), National Park Service, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as architect Rodney Léon, gathered at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site's recently-chosen memorial.
"Today we mark the ground where the African Burial Ground memorial will be built and where it will stand forever as a monument to the 17th- and 18th-century enslaved Africans who rest here. The memorial will educate visitors about the harsh living conditions under which they toiled, the customs they added to our culture, and the many contributions they made to colonial America," GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry announced to a crowd that included local high school students, members of the faith community, the diplomatic corps, local, national, and foreign leaders, and government officials.
In April, the GSA and National Park Service unveiled the permanent design for a memorial after a year-long final selection process. Developed by architect Rodney Léon of Aarris Architects, the $3 million memorial design features a spiraling sunken court, called the "Ancestral Libation Court," with a 24-foot-high "Ancestral Chamber" intended to offer visitors a space for reflection.
The much anticipated memorial will also feature a granite "Wall of Remembrance" facing Duane Street, inscribed with text arranged chronologically to describe major historical events that contributed to the creation of the African Burial Ground. Four pillars will mark the location of the sarcophagi containing the human remains.
For more about the African Burial Ground, click here.
Goldman Sachs Downtown Headquarters Secures $1.3 Million in Liberty Bonds
Wednesday, September 28: Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs announced that it has secured $1.3 billion in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds to build its headquarters in a 43-story office tower at downtown's West and Vesey Streets, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The commitment by Goldman Sachs, which was founded on Pine Street in 1869, to build downtown assures that its 9,000 employees and the bulk of its trading operations will stay in Lower Manhattan through 2028. It also signifies the bank's investment in the downtown recovery, with approximately 4,000 new jobs expected to be added by 2019. According to New York City and State, Goldman Sachs is expected to generate nearly $8 billion in direct and indirect taxes over the life of the deal.
The $1.3 billion in Liberty Bonds, which were made available by the federal government after September 11, 2001, to spur construction projects downtown, will allow the company to begin construction later this year, the Journal added.
For additional coverage, click here.
International Freedom Center Removed from WTC Plan
Wednesday, September 29: Gov. George Pataki announced that the International Freedom Center (IFC) will not have a place at the cultural center planned for the World Trade Center site, saying that the events of 9/11 should be the sole focus of whatever cultural institution finds a home there. For the full story, click here.