July 22nd - July 28th, 2005
Liberty Plaza Park Turns Over a New Leaf
Monday, July 25: By spring 2006, Liberty Plaza Park will reopen to the public, featuring 55 new trees, two remarkable pieces of art, and dozens of shady benches. Located between Broadway, Church, Liberty, and Cedar Streets, the park is undergoing a reconstruction that will create a public sanctuary in the heart of bustling Lower Manhattan. Owner Brookfield Properties, with the help of architects Cooper Robertson and other collaborators, kicked off the $8 million renovation on July 18 -- adding another major private investment to the area's revitalization. For complete coverage, click here.
7 WTC May Sign First Tenant
Tuesday, July 26: American Express Financial Advisors may become the first tenant to sign a lease at the soon-to-be completed 7 World Trade Center, the New York Times and Daily News reported.
American Express Financial Advisors, a unit of American Express that will soon become an independent company under the name Ameriprise Financial, is reported to be in negotiations with the site's developer for a 20,000-square-foot space in the 52-story building, the Times explained.
Rebuilding officials, along with WTC site developer Silverstein Properties, have been trying to entice companies to relocate to the WTC site over the past year. According to officials, interest in 7 WTC, which is slated for completion in 2006, spiked last month when the New York State Legislature passed a financial incentives package that would reduce average price per square foot at 7 WTC from between $50 and $55 to the low $40s, the paper said.
"This is the first one that's come to closure, but others are coming," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan, told the News about the deal with American Express.
Both Silverstein Properties and American Express Financial Advisors have declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations, the Times added.
Tribute in Light to Return at New Downtown Home
Wednesday, July 27: The "Tribute in Light" memorial, first illuminated on March 11, 2002, is expected to return to Manhattan skies this September 11 from the top level of the Triborough Bridge and the Tunnel Authority's parking garage, located at the opening of the Battery Tunnel, the Daily News reported.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) real estate committee announced that it approved the four-year agreement with the Municipal Art Society, which first launched the memorial tribute, but the deal still requires formal approval by the full MTA board, the paper said.
Under the proposed arrangement, the Municipal Art Society would pay the MTA $12,000 per year to help defray the costs of setting up the 50-square-foot beams of light, the News added.
"Tribute in Light," which was previously anchored at a parking lot at West and Vesey Streets, uses 44 high-power lights and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate, the paper noted. Last year, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) provided a $3.5 million grant to fund the project for five years.
Revised WTC Transportation Hub Awaits Final Approval
Thursday, July 28: A revised design of architect Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center Transportation Hub, known for its resemblance to a bird in flight, is expected to be approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York Times reported.
The revisions, made to increase the security of the structure and control its costs, are said to maintain many of the elements put forth in Calatrava's initial version, which was unveiled in 2004.
"We looked at various security enhancements around the base and how to fortify it," Anthony R. Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority, told the Times. "Those things were all done in a way that stayed faithful to the original version."
Among the expected changes are a revised main transit hall, located between Church and Greenwich Streets. The fragile glass originally planned to connect the steel beams -- often referred to as "ribs" -- of the 150-foot-high wings located on either side of the hall will be removed. The wings, which will still open in nice weather and every year on September 11, have also been redesigned to only open 30 feet, instead of the originally proposed 45 feet, the paper explained.
Additionally, the steel beams (or ribs) will be doubled in number, reducing the space between them from 11 feet to 5.5 feet and providing added safety from potential explosions. A solid wall more than three feet high will also outline the base of the transit hall, replacing glass bay windows, and the hall itself will be reduced from 360 feet to 330 feet to increase its distance from the street, the Times said.
The $2 billion hub will sit at the northeast corner of the site at Church and Vesey Streets and is expected to form an underground connection between the World Financial Center and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Fulton Street Transit Center. Through it, pedestrians will have access to Hudson River ferry terminals, PATH trains, 14 subway lines, and a direct rail link to JFK International Airport.
Groundbreaking on the hub is scheduled in September, and the terminal is slated to open in 2009.