June 8th - June 14th, 2013
150 Nassau Board Slams Dennys in Lawsuit
June 6 - The condominium board of a landmarked building at 150 Nassau Street filed suit for up to $10 million yesterday to block a Denny's restaurant from operating at the site's commercial space, according to the Real Deal. Meanwhile, the restaurant's would-be landlord has vowed to bring it to the building. The board, which manages operations at the historic American Tract Society Building across from City Hall, is asking a New York State Supreme Court judge to block the 24-hour restaurant from operating out of the building, amid fears that it will attract disruptive crowds and violate the structural integrity of the site with required renovations. The owners of the commercial space, Babaev Group, a Jamaica, N.Y.-based real estate fund, agreed to lease it to Denco Enterprises, a Whittier, Calif.-based franchisee that operates 27 of the fast food restaurants around the country, according to the suit. The franchise operator also applied to serve liquor at the restaurant, and only withdrew its application to the New York State Liquor Authority after the condo board publicly fought against it, the suit claims.
Ex-Leader of Planned Mosque Near WTC Settles Lawsuit
June 7 - The former leader of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan has settled a lawsuit in which a donor accused him of spending charitable contributions on himself, both sides confirmed on Friday. The New York Times reported that the donor, Robert Leslie Deak, had accused the former leader, Feisal Abdul Rauf, of diverting millions of dollars in charitable donations - meant for the Cordoba Initiative, founded by the imam, as well as theAmerican Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by the imam's wife, Daisy Khan - to buy real estate, luxury vacations and a fancy car. It also accused Mr. Abdul Rauf of failing to report approximately $3 million in donations from the Malaysian government. Mr. Abdul Rauf was the spiritual leader of a proposed 13-story Islamic center on Park Place that became a touchstone of post-Sept. 11 controversy, as opponents argued that its proximity to the site of the former World Trade Center was disrespectful to those who died there. Mr. Abdul Rauf stepped down as its leader in 2011 after a falling out with the center's developer. While the building has recently served as a prayer space, the full center has not been built.
NYC Stations Brace for WTC Tower Battle
June 11 - Eleven years, seven months and thirty days after most of New York City's TV transmission infrastructure was destroyed in the attack that demolished the World Trade Center, crews completed hoisting the spire of the new 1 World Trade Center into place on May 10, reported TVTechnology.com. At a symbolic 1,776 feet above ground, the tip of the spire makes the new 1WTC the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It also touches off a fight for broadcast tenants between the new building and its long-established competitor in midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building. After the 9/11 attack displaced nine TV stations and four FM stations that had been using the original World Trade Center as a transmission site, Empire became a crowded, complicated place as building management scrambled to reconfigure antennas in the limited mast space available and to add transmitter rooms on two additional floors of the historic building. Whether broadcasters will be rushing to move their facilities downtown is, quite literally, a multi-million dollar question. In a prospectus filed last year for an initial public offering, the Empire State Building disclosed that it earned more than $16 million in 2010 from broadcast leases, which on average had about seven more years to run. With its status as the city's tallest building soon to expire, Empire's operators warned investors in the prospectus that the completion of 1WTC "could have a negative impact on revenues from our observatory operations and/or broadcasting revenues."
Bloomberg Unveils Plan to Save New York from Climate Change
June 12 - A $20 billion plan to gird New York with levees, flood gates and other defenses is a bold stroke from a mayor who saw the city through Superstorm Sandy and has championed preparedness for global warming, reported the Associated Press. But the future of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sweeping proposals will largely rest with his successor. The slate of projects Bloomberg outlined Tuesday marks one of the biggest, most ambitious plans ever for defending a major U.S. city from the rising seas and severe weather that climate change is expected to bring. Recommendations range from installing removable flood walls in lower Manhattan to restoring marshes in Jamaica Bay in Queens, and from flood-proofing homes to setting repair timeframe standards for phone and Internet service providers. With less than seven months left in office, Bloomberg said his administration plans to start on projects such as fortifying beaches and to begin designing others and lining up money, but he acknowledged much of the work would extend beyond his term. "It's up to you," he told a crowd of officials and others at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, "to hold the next administration accountable for getting it done."
Task Force Gets DOE to OK 1,000 New Lower Manhattan School Seats
June 13 - After years of resistance, the Department of Education has agreed that population growth in Lower Manhattan justifies the creation of 1,000 new elementary school seats downtown, according to a multiple sources directly familiar with the situation. The Broadsheet reported that agreement came earlier this week at a meeting between DOE officials and a subcommittee of the Schools Overcrowding Task Force impaneled by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, which has become a venue in recent years for negotiations between the DOE and Lower Manhattan community leaders and elected officials. The multi-year capital plan, which is being formulated now and is slated to be finalized by November, will be tantamount to a commitment by DOE to fund and develop the schools listed within it.