August 10th - August 16th, 2007
Future Transit Hub Draws Residents and Retailers Downtown
August 13th: The Fulton Street Transit Center is luring tenants downtown. In addition to lower rents and increasing retail traffic, residents and retailers are anticipating the added convenience of travel the hub will bring to the revitalized downtown area. The new transit center is slated to open in 2010 after the $888 million construction project is complete. Once open and running, the hub will connect 12 subway lines with more than 300,000 anticipated commuters, according to a report in Crain's New York.
Retailers like BMW, Hermes, and Starbucks are among the first to snatch up spaces downtown. Bank of America and GNC have also signed leases for locations on Fulton Street with asking rents between $150 and $200 per square foot, reports Crain's. According to reports, Lower Manhattan has seen its population increase by 30 percent since 2001, and in the past two years alone it has successfully attracted 149 firms to the area.
7 World Trade Center Soars in Popularity
August 14th: Larry Silverstein's new 7 World Trade Center, which sits at the foot of Ground Zero and stands 52 stories tall, has rapidly become a posh destination with frequent visits from celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Naomi Campbell, and Donald Trump, according to a report in this week's the Real Deal. Approximately two-thirds of the building already is leased out, with state-of-the-art safety features and eco-friendly status as one of the first "green" buildings in the city making it an attractive property to potential tenants.
The majority of the space yet to be leased is located in the tower's top floors. To take advantage of the vacancies, Silverstein has been renting out the space for A-list galas at a rate of $25,000 a night, reports the Real Deal.
Not Enough Room to Fit Into Fiterman, Signature Theatre Looks for New Home
August 14th: With its current lease set to expire by the end of 2011, the Signature Theatre continues its search for a new home. The Off Broadway company had hoped to move into Fiterman Hall as part of a larger project to bring the arts downtown.
The five-year-old plan to revive downtown by bringing the performing arts to Lower Manhattan continues to face financial and logistical obstacles. According to a report in the New York Times, original hopes had been to include the Signature's two theatres and two rehearsal spaces in the new Fiterman building alongside academic space for the City University of New York. However, with the university's 18,500-plus student body, the school simply needs all the space it can get.
In the meantime, the city is working closely with the Signature in an effort to secure a new home for the theatre -- preferably one with a downtown address.
New York City New Codes Quiets Construction Noise
August 16th: Real Estate Weekly dove into the city's new noise code this week in an effort to highlight some of the primary concerns addressed by the new regulations. The first overhaul of the city's noise code in 30 years, the changes come at a time of robust construction activity, particularly in Lower Manhattan. The new code, which took effect in July 2007, limits the allowable decibel levels from various sources of noisy disturbances, reports the Weekly.
While it is impossible to silence all the noise coming from construction work downtown, the new code does include stipulations targeted at construction that are meant to at least help reduce the overall disturbances for residents and other nearby tenants. For instance, the new noise code requires contractors to post noise mitigation plans at construction sites. These plans require that jackhammers be equipped with noise-reducing mufflers or other portable noise-reducing devices to cut back on the overall sound impact on neighboring buildings, reports the Weekly.
In addition, the new code restricts construction activity to the hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Projects near "sensitive facilities" -including churches, schools, and hospitals - will also have to adjust their construction plans in accordance with the hours stipulated in the new code. The new laws are just one attempt on the part of the city to address quality of life issues for New York City residents.
Steel Beams Arrive for WTC Memorial
August 16th: Approximately 580 metric tons of jumbo steel I-beams arrived this week at the Port of Savannah. The steel beams, which are intended for the construction of a Memorial and Museum dedicated to the World Trade Center, represent only 20 percent of the total that will be required for the project, according to a report by Real Estate Weekly.
"The arrival of the Memorial steel is another step forward in our effort to build a permanent tribute to the innocent victim of the attacks," said New York City Mayor and WTC Memorial Foundation Chairman Michael Bloomberg. The Weekly's report notes that the steel is seen by many to represent the "resilience" and "resolve to rebuild" the World Trade Center site. The Memorial itself will be the heart of the rebuilt site at Ground Zero. "The Memorial will…[offer] reflection on the past and hope for the future," Bloomberg added. Construction of the steel structure is expected to begin by the end of this year.
A Big Glass Box For Downtown Shoppers
August 16th: The corner of Canal and Lafayette Streets seems to be the center of attention for some downtown developers this week. According to a report in Real Estate Weekly, ABS Partners Real Estate, LLC and First Pioneer Properties, Inc. have purchased the southeast corner where the two streets intersect. The ownership group now is interviewing architectural firms to create what the Weekly described as one large "glass box building."
The corner receives a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic, and the convenience of several nearby subway lines makes it a hot spot for downtown shoppers. The ABS leasing team has reportedly discussed the possibility of attracting high-profile retailers to the space, which will certainly have an "extraordinary retail presence," according to the Weekly. Additional signage tactics may be used to creatively integrate the different floors within the building, but nothing will be able to top the pure upfront street exposure the building will have from both Canal and Lafayette Streets.