December 31st - January 6th, 2005
NYC Business Back on Track
Monday, January 3: Three and a half years after the World Trade Center attacks, companies throughout the metropolitan area agree that the region's economy is back to where it was before Sept. 11, 2001, Newsday reported.
Both gross city and domestic products -- the broadest measures of local and national economic activity -- are making steady, albeit slow, improvements, the paper reported. Compared to a year ago when the city was losing jobs, companies are now expanding and increasing payrolls at about a one percent rate. Gains have occurred in a broad range of industries, from tourism to legal services to publishing.
However, Newsday went on to say, it is a different economy than it was before the terrorist attacks. Growth today is far slower, and less certain due to the declining value of the dollar, low interest rates, and high oil prices.
WTC Memorial Sets Up in Albany
Monday, January 3: Models and renderings of the World Trade Center memorial, "Reflecting Absence," went on display this week at the state capitol. Architects Michael Arad, Peter Walker, and Max Bond released their completed schematic design of the memorial last month. "Reflecting Absence" will cover more than four acres and honor the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and Feb. 26, 1993. The memorial features two reflecting pools, a contemplation room with a tomb for unidentified remains, and a gallery listing the victims' names.
For more information on the memorial, please click here.
Trendy Downtown Areas Have Lofty Rents
Monday, January 3: Soho and TriBeCa are the most expensive areas in the country to rent an apartment, the New York Post reported. Both neighborhoods are known for their spacious lofts, many equivalent in size to three-bedroom apartments. Current rents reach more than $6,000 per month.
The average cost to purchase a loft is about $1.489 million, according to the Corcoran Group.
Morgan Stanley Returns to Lower Manhattan
Tuesday, January 4: Investment bank Morgan Stanley, one of the largest employers in Lower Manhattan until the attack on the World Trade Center, is returning downtown for the first time since the company relocated to Times Square in 2001.
The bank signed a deal to lease space on six floors at 1 New York Plaza, the 2.54-million-square-foot skyscraper on Water Street, the New York Times reported. Beginning in June, Morgan Stanley plans to move about 1,450 employees from various locations in midtown to the 50-story tower. Morgan Stanley is subleasing the space from Wachovia Bank, which will move out of 1 New York Plaza this month.
Downtown Office Rents Increase
Wednesday, January 5: Lower Manhattan rents for commercial space rose from $31.53 to $32.16 per square foot, even as the area saw its first quarterly vacancy increase since 2002, Newsday reported.
Throughout Manhattan, office rents are likely to rise this year after falling to a five-year low of $39.47 per square foot at the end of 2004 because demand for the most desirable spaces will soon exceed supply
Pataki Calls for Continued Rebuilding Efforts
Wednesday, January 5: Governor George Pataki opened the 2005 Legislative Session with his eleventh State Address, reflecting on New York State's achievements over the past decade and outlining changes for the future.
The governor laid out an agenda that calls for several advances in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, including:
- Breaking ground this summer for the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub and moving forward with the rail link connecting Lower Manhattan to JFK Airport and Long Island;
- Lighting the memorial at night, once it is completed, so that visitors will be greeted by a glow throughout the plaza level;
- Continuing to raise funds through the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and
- Allowing New Yorkers to donate some or all of their tax refunds toward the construction of the memorial by advancing legislation to include an income tax check-off box on state forms and extending this opportunity to the entire nation by having Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella guide a bill through Congress to provide the same donation option on federal tax forms.
WTC Memorial Foundation Convenes
Thursday, January 6: The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation board met for the first time on Wednesday in the American Express Tower across from Ground Zero, the New York Times reported.
After the two-hour meeting closed to the public and press, the foundation members were given an introduction to the site by architects Daniel Libeskind and Michael Arad in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center.
During the meeting, New York City Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris was named the 33rd board member and Jason R. Lilien was named counsel, the Times reported. John C. Whitehead, the interim chairman, told board members that meeting minutes would be made public, the paper added.
Among the directors' earliest tasks will be to choose a permanent chairperson and a president. The foundation, whose members include Barbara Walters and Robert De Niro, have been given the task of raising $500 million to build both a memorial to the victims of the 2001 and 1993 trade center attacks and adjoining cultural facilities. Approximately $3.5 million has been raised so far, according to the Times.
For more information on the foundation, please click here.