March 16th - March 20th, 2009
South Ferry Subway Station Opens
March 16 – The new South Street Ferry subway station opened, becoming the MTA’s first new subway station in decades. Governor Paterson joined Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and other officials for a ceremony at the new station. It has a longer platform for all 10 cars to open their doors to let passengers on and off; the old station’s platform only allowed the first 5 cars to do that. The station is handicapped accessible. It took $530 million to build the new station and it opens more than two years late.
Cortlandt Station to Open Late 2009
March 16 – The MTA told Community Board 1 last week that the northbound platform of the Cortlandt Street R/W station should be open by the end of the year. The agency also said it hopes to award a contract by September for the mezzanine that will serve the A and C lines at the Fulton Street station according to The Battery Park Broadsheet Daily. Other contracts still to be awarded for the Fulton Street include the rehab of the 4/5 platforms, the fit-out of the Dey concourse and the restoration of the landmark Corbin building.
Ferry Ridership Down
March 16- NY Waterway ferry is on the brink of bankruptcy according to a report in Crain’s NY Business. Ridership is down 12% from last year and CEO Arthur Imperatore said the company will go under unless the Port Authority or NJ Transit buys it. Imperatore also said the ferry service lost revenue for about 48 hours when it helped save passenger of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson; Imperatore said his company may have to sue US airways to recover those expenses.
Silver Doesnâ€™t Support Mayors Plan
March 16 – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said right now, he does not support Mayor Bloomberg’s plans to have the City takeover Governor’s Island. In a report in The Downtown Express, Silver said he wants to focus on getting State money for the Island; he may be open to a City takeover of the Island next year. It costs approximately $15 million a year to run Governor’s Island.
Vacancy Rates Rise
March 16- The latest snapshot of Manhattan’s available commercial space shows there is 12 million square feet on the market. Colliers ABR February report, published in GlobeSt.com, said Manhattan will see rising levels of sublease space into the middle of 2009. Downtown’s availability rate is at 10.1%; the vacancy rate is 7.7%.
Battery Park Project Begins
March 17 – Construction gets underway in the fall on SeaGlass, an amusement ride in Battery Park. According to The New York Post, it’s a maritime carousel that lets patrons hop aboard giant sea creatures on a 46 foot wide turntable that looks like the ocean floor. SeaGlass also has panoramic screens which make riders feel like they’ve been submersed underwater. The Parks Department hopes to open the carousel next spring.
Support for Memorial Coin Sought
March 18 – The September 11 Memorial Foundation is working with former Senator Al D’Amato to win Congressional support for a minted coin that could help fundraising efforts. The New York Observer reports the Foundation wants the coin minted in time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011.
Pier 15 to become a New Park
March 18 – The City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the plan to turn Pier 15 into a new park. Pier 15 is located at the foot of Pine Street in the South Street Historic District. According to The New York Post, the new park and maritime center will be a two deck structure complete with cafes. The new park is part of the City’s $148 million plan to build an esplanade from Whitehall ferry terminal to East River Park.
Ferry Terminal Opens
March 18 – A new ferry terminal opened in Battery Park City. The $90 million 28,000 square foot facility near Vesey Street opened amid reports that the New York Waterway company may be filing for bankruptcy. But BillyBey Ferries, which also uses the terminal, said it is not facing the same financial pressures and will continue to operate the ferry routes if New York Waterway goes under.
Commissioner Opposes Federal Regulation
March 19 – NYC Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri testified in Washington yesterday that allowing OSHA to oversee crane inspections would, in effect, deregulate cranes. “OSHA has no full-time staff dedicated to construction inspections in the city. Reliance on this industry to regulate itself would be a fundamental mistake,” said LiMandri. The proposed federal regulation would bar the city from shutting down dangerous construction cranes and shift enforcement to the feds, according to The Daily News.
Church Deal with Port Authority Dissolves
March 19 – The $60 million dollar agreement between St. Nicolas Greek Orthodox Church and the Port Authority to rebuild the church at Liberty and Greenwich Streets has fallen apart, according to several published reports. The PA says it terminated the arrangement after the church continued to press for more costly concessions and also wanted veto power over designs for the Vehicle Security Center. The PA says the church is free to build on its own land at 155 Cedar Street; the PA will now use eminent domain to get control of the land beneath that parcel so it can begin building the Vehicle Security Center. The PA says it will pay fair market value for the underground space below the church.
AIG Considers Selling Downtown Building
March 19 – In an effort to raise money, AIG is considering selling two Lower Manhattan properties- 70 Pine Street and 72 Wall Street- according to a report on Bloomberg.com. The company’s midtown Manhattan headquarters has been on the market for more than a year. AIG owns about 2 million square feet of office space in the City.
Mural Coming Down
March 19 – A dramatic Art Deco style mural, which depicts the WTC towers, is slated to be removed from the lobby of Gateway Plaza’s 600 building according to a report in the Battery Park Broadsheet Daily. The mural has been in the lobby since 1997 and is cherished by many Battery Park City residents, according to the paper. An employee in the building told the paper Lefrak plans to redecorate the lobby. The building’s owner, The Lefrak Organization, had no comment.
99 Church is on Hold
March 19 – Developer Larry Silverstein made a stunning announcement. According to Real Estate Weekly, Silverstein said his project at 99 Church Street is on hold because of the credit crunch. Silverstein said, “One of these days the world’s going to come back together and the financing will be available and we’ll build this edifice. It’s going to be the finest damn hotel in all of Manhattan.” Referring to the WTC site, Silverstein predicted Tower 4 would be finished in 2012, Tower 2 in 2014 and Tower 3 in 2015 or 2016.