October 19th - October 25th, 2013
Sandy One Year Later - Con Ed Tightens Seal Around East Side Substation
October 21 - Hundred of thousands of people in Lower Manhattan lost power all at once during Hurricane Sandy, and stayed in the dark for days. Now, Con Ed is making changes in the event the city is faced with another storm of Sandy's magnitude, NY1 reported. It was 8:30 p.m. last October 29th when the flooding from Sandy overwhelmed the 13th Street substation, causing an explosion and ultimately plunging most of Manhattan below 34th Street into darkness. Over the past year, engineers and experts from Con Ed have worked to prevent this from ever happening again. "In order for us to continue supplying reliable energy to the customer, these are things that are now a requirement," said Con Ed Area Manager Vic Faster. One mile of higher concrete walls now surround the facility. They were finished in June. They're double the height of the floodwaters that poured in -- a plaque memorializes the high water mark -- and they're built to withstand the huge pressure exerted by the surge. Critical infrastructure on the inside of the substation was storm hardened as well. Walls were built around sensitive machinery. Con Ed this week was testing a hand cranked lifting system. On both the inside and outside, the utility installed waterproof doors to seal in the facility. In addition to doors and walls, Con Ed is investing millions in other types of infrastructure improvements.
Council on Tall Buildings to Determine If 1WTC Spire Counts Toward Measurement
October 21 - In the years after the Twin Towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York leaders vowed to build the country's tallest tower in their place as a show of resilience. They're about to find out if they succeeded, according to the Wall Street Journal. Early next month the nonprofit Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat -- the accepted arbiter on matters of skyscraper height -- is set to determine 1 World Trade Center's official "architectural" height. The developers of One World Trade, the site's signature tower that's set to open in 2015, say the Skidmore Owings and Merrill-designed building measures 1,776 feet. That would be 325 feet taller than the roof of Chicago's Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower.
But the bragging rights to America's tallest tower aren't so straightforward. At issue is whether the One World Trade's 408-foot steel mast is considered a "spire" that is part of the building's architecture. If it is found to be a structural spire, it counts toward the height; but if it is considered just an antenna, that would leave the building at 1,368 feet, the country's third-tallest, after the Willis Tower, at 1,451 feet, and the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, at 1,389 feet. The answer is subject to debate. Even if the spire-versus-antenna issue is resolved, the building's height may not officially land at 1,776 feet: The council in 2009 changed its rules requiring building height to be measured from the top to the lowest building entrance. Given a slope on the site, One World Trade has an entrance lower than its main doors, which could put the height at 1,781 feet.
MTA Video Sheds Light on East River Tunnel Repairs
October 22 - Post-Sandy subway repairs are causing headaches for some commuters, but the now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is giving the public a glimpse of the work being done in newly released video, reported NY1. Since August, renovation work has taken place on the tunnel connecting part of Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn, causing riders of the R train to reroute their commutes. The work is taking place in two parts -- one to repair tracks and power supplies, another to repair signal equipment. One MTA worker who appears in the video says the overhaul is necessary. "When Hurricane Sandy struck this entire section of the entire tunnel was flooded with sea water. The electrical cabinets you see behind me contained the signal equipment which control the motions of the trains, controls the fans in the tunnels, controls basically everything down here. It was all destroyed," said MTA Project Manager Jonathan Barnhart. The repairs are expected to last until October of next year.
Port Authority Weighs Subleasing 4 WTC Space
October 22 - The Port Authority is considering subleasing as much as a quarter of its new headquarters at 4 World Trade Center, the Lower Manhattan tower it owns and is scheduled to open next month, reported Bloomberg. The agency, which oversees the region's interstate ports and transportation infrastructure, last month issued a request for proposals from commercial-property real estate brokers to advise it on finding tenants for as much as 150,000 square feet of its 601,000 square feet of offices in the skyscraper. The space is between the 18th and 21st stories, according to the document. The 72-story tower, developed by Larry Silverstein, will become the first office building to open on the 16-acre World Trade Center site since the 2001 terrorist attacks. With about 1 million of its 2.3 million square feet unleased, it's one of several top-quality office towers with large vacancies in Lower Manhattan, including the bigger 1 World Trade Center, scheduled for completion next year.
High Tech Surges in Lower Manhattan
October 24 - Even as the industry that has been synonymous with downtown for more than a century leaves Lower Manhattan, a new mainstay is emerging: technology. According to the Broadsheet, this surge is highlighted by a new report from the Downtown Alliance, "A Surge of Bits And Bytes: The State Of Tech And Innovation In Lower Manhattan," which documents the area south of Chambers Streets as the home to some 600 technology companies, with more than 100 startups among them. This total has jumped from fewer than 500 just a year ago, an increase of approximately 24 percent. And where tech companies go, venture capital dollars are sure to follow. Lower Manhattan digital enterprises raised a total of $231 million in the first seven months of 2013, which is 14 percent of tech start-up venture capital citywide. More than half of this total went to firms in and around the WTC complex, which raised $120 million in venture capital funding. One reason for the influx appears to be large amounts of available office space at comparative bargain prices. And these trends may gather more steam from LaunchLM, a new initiative to harness the potential of tech's burgeoning presence downtown.