October 21st - October 27th, 2005
90 West Street Reopens to Residential Living
Tuesday, October 25: Badly damaged during the 9/11 attacks, the 23-story landmark building at 90 West Street officially reopened as a residential apartment building, the Associated Press reported.
The 1907 Cass Gilbert-designed building was severely wounded when debris from the World Trade Center's south tower ignited nearby structures and damaged 90 West Street's northern façade, roof, and interior. While the seven buildings near it were completely destroyed, crews were able to repair and restore the landmark, transforming its former offices into residential units, AP explained.
The new 90 West Street boasts 410 new apartment units, 85 percent of which have already been rented, AP said. To learn more about 90 West Street, click here.
Mayor Seeks Larger Role at WTC Site
Tuesday, October 25: In an effort to increase his role in the downtown rebuilding effort, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for a mixed-use development plan at the World Trade Center site along Church and Greenwich Streets that would feature residential housing, a hotel, shops, and the headquarters of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York Times reported.
Criticizing WTC developer Larry Silverstein's plans to build 10 million square feet of office space at the site, Bloomberg called for the removal of Silverstein from the project and proposed an alternative development plan for a 24-hour community, the paper said.
"You want 24 by 7 mixed use," Mayor Bloomberg told the Times. "You want people on the streets all the time. That gets you stores and restaurants and parks and the kind of facilities that both people who are living there want and people who are working there want. The days of a business district that is desolate at night are long over."
While some area officials welcomed the mayor's proposal, others warned that both the removal of Silverstein and the project's revision would add years to an already lengthy rebuilding process that is currently underway, the paper noted.
Despite the mayor's proposals, New York City has no control over the World Trade Center site, which is owned by the Port Authority, and cannot evict Silverstein from his post, the Times added.
Silverstein Announces Plans for Second WTC Tower Are Ready
Wednesday, October 26: WorldTrade CenterDeveloper Larry Silverstein announced that a timetable for the construction of tower No. 2 at the new WTC site will soon be released, the Daily News reported.
The 65-story tower planned for the northeast corner of the site -- on a block defined by Church, Fulton, Greenwich, and Vesey Streets -- is expected to include 2.4 million square feet of office space. Construction on tower No. 2 is predicted to begin next year, along with the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, which will boast 2.6 million square feet of office space, the paper explained.
Meanwhile, 7 World Trade Center is steadily becoming the first tower to near completion at the site. While Silverstein has struggled to find tenants for the 52-story building, the New York Academy of Sciences is in talks to rent one floor of the building, or around 40,000 square feet. A preliminary deal with Ameriprise Financial Inc. for half a floor was also announced in July, and significant interest from Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co. was reported last week, the Wall Street Journal said.
Community Update on Deconstruction of 130 Liberty
Tuesday, October 25: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) hosted an information session on October 24 to present details about the planned demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building that was damaged on September 11, 2001, and to give community members an opportunity to ask questions of those involved in the project. For complete coverage, click here.
Court Finds Port Authority Negligent in 93 WTC Bombing
Thursday, October 27: After more than 12 years of delays, a Manhattan jury found the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey guilty of negligence for having failed to safeguard the World Trade Center from the 1993 terrorist bombing that claimed six people and injured 1,000, the New York Times reported.
The unanimous verdict from the six-member jury in a state Supreme Court determined that the Port Authority -- the buildings' then landlord -- did not respond to warnings found in a 1985 agency security report that identified the garage as vulnerable to attack. According to the jury, the agency's failure to react was a "substantial factor" in allowing the bombing to occur, the paper said.
The verdict, which comes after four weeks of testimony from three former directors of the Port Authority and several security experts, allows for separate lawsuits filed by hundreds of victims and business owners against the Port Authority to move forward. According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, the cases will seek a combined total of as much as $1.8 billion, the Times explained.
The Port Authority, which maintains that any attack was unforeseeable and that the agency should not be held accountable for the resultant deaths and injuries, is expected to appeal the court's decision, the paper added.
Congress Criticizes Investigation of WTC Collapse
Thursday, October 27: Members of the United States Congress criticized the three-year federal investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, saying that it failed to adequately identify specific recommendations to increase safety and security in building and evacuation codes, the New York Times reported.
The $16 million study, conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), examined the specific causes of the WTC towers' collapse, as well as the evacuation of the towers and the response by the New York City Fire Department and other emergency personnel. As part of the NIST's 10,000-page report, 30 recommendations for improving building safety were issued, the paper explained.
According to the House Science Committee, the NIST's recommendations are not detailed or sufficiently documented to be effectively incorporated into the standard building code publications used to guide local codes, the Times said.
In addition to criticisms from Congress, the NIST's report was met with opposition from the Building Owners and Managers Association International -- a Washington-based group that represents the real estate industry. Citing excessive costs, the association submitted a statement to the House committee strongly objecting to many of the proposed safety improvements, the paper added
Pataki Pushes for MTA Funding on Downtown Projects
Thursday, October 27: Gov. George Pataki called for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to earmark more than a third of its recently announced budget surplus for projects in Lower Manhattan, the New York Times reported.
According to a statement issued by the governor's office, Pataki is calling for $250 million from the MTA surplus to "be set aside to ensure all of the transportation projects downtown are achieved on schedule," the paper explained.
While Pataki did not propose how to distribute the funding, the MTA is currently developing two major projects downtown: the $785 million Fulton Street Transit Center and the $451 million reconstruction of South Ferry Subway Station, the Times said.
The MTA board is scheduled to review the subject at its November 16 meeting, the paper added.