July 6th - July 12th, 2007
Fulton Street Reconstruction Affects Downtown Retailers
June 6th: Construction of the new Fulton Street Transit Center, a large-scale reconstruction project that will require closing off parts of Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, will unavoidably affect some of downtown's retailers, the New York Sun reported this week. Business has slowed on the street already due to heavy construction in the area. Some argue that Fulton Street has been hit the hardest by the multitude of ongoing construction projects.
Fulton Street currently is undergoing construction of the much anticipated Fulton Street Transit Center, which is slated to open in 2009. Additionally, the replacement of a 150-year-old water main will require some traffic closures over the course of the next month.
The upside for retailers is that Fulton Street actually receives higher foot traffic than other areas of Lower Manhattan, so planners speculate that the traffic closures shouldn't actually hinder businesses as much as retailers fear.
All of the current constriction is being done in an effort to realize the city's vision of a greater downtown. Once completed, Fulton Street will be the gateway that connects Lower Manhattan's South Street Seaport to the World Trade Center site.
Debates Over 50 West Show Divide in Community Sentiments
July 6th: In an effort to quell community members' negative sentiments towards Time Equities' proposed plans for 50 West Street, the development company is offering to donate half a million dollars to Lower Manhattan's P.S. 89.
A June 19th meeting of Community Board 1 (CB1) sparked debate and disagreements between members over the proposed plans for the site. According to a report this week in the Battery Park City Broadsheet, many members of Lower Manhattan's CB1 laud the commitment to the school's technology department (including new computers and additional tech support staff) but others reject it as too little.
A big part of the problem facing Time Equities is the proposed height and bulk of the building. Developers want to build a 63-story building for the planned condominium and hotel tower, which exceeds the current laws restricting the maximum height of buildings in that area to 40 stories.
In order to secure the rights necessary to build the additional floors the company must first purchase the air rights from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel located just south of the site. If Time Equities is successful in doing so it will still need to comply with additional zoning variances.
Angry Tenants Fight New Developer for Homes
July 6th: Tenants of 333 Rector Place are raising concerns over the building's new developer, who they say is forcing them to vacate their homes. Reporting on a June 19th meeting of Community Board 1, the Battery Park City Broadsheet this week said that tenants verbally attacked representatives for Andrew Heiberger, the developer who purchased the property earlier this year.
Heiberger's attorney, Jamie Jacobsen, and Brad Meadow, an employee of the building's management company, attended the meeting to address charges leveled by current tenants. The room erupted in shouts of fury at the pair after Jacobsen claimed that the building has not terminated any leases or made any unreasonable rent increase, the Broadsheet reported.
Heiberger's representatives maintain the position that the building is being emptied in order to allow for necessary renovation work. However, residents are arguing that they are protected under the Martin Act; a state law that regulates condominium conversions and prohibits what is referred to as "warehousing" of apartments (keeping apartments empty for long periods of time).
At this time, because the building has yet to file a conversion plan with the Attorney General's office, the Martin Act cannot be applied to this case. However, members of CB1 have passed a resolution strongly criticizing the practices described by the building's current tenants, reported the Broadsheet.
3,000 Security Cameras Could Be Added to Monitor Lower Manhattan
July 9th: New York City announced a new security initiative this week for Lower Manhattan. The new plan would mandate the installation of 3,000 surveillance cameras below Canal Street if the city can successfully acquire the necessary $90 million in funding.
New York City Police Department will be responsible for putting the new security measures into effect downtown once the city finalizes its plans. New York will need to raise at least $75 million of the total amount needed to begin phasing in the new system.
Of the 3,000 cameras to be installed, 100 will be used to monitor vehicles entering Lower Manhattan. Additional moveable roadblocks that would be able to halt traffic if the system detects a suspicious car are also planned. If Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial congestion pricing bill is approved this month, the new program surveillance system will also be used to help city charge drivers entering Manhattan.
Construction Workers Finally Benefiting from NYCs Developments
July 12th: The city's carpenters electricians and other construction professionals are enjoying higher wages as a result of the city's latest building boom, the New York Sun reports.
After a decade of scant construction jobs, several workers interviewed by the Sun say they are finally getting a chance to enjoying a steady income. Many are now making enough to pay for new homes, new cars, and other renovation projects for themselves and their families. In addition to the money, the assurance that steady work won't be going away anytime soon is a great relief for many workers.
According to a recent study released by the New York Building Congress, spending on city construction will likely surpass the $24.6 billion spent in 2006, with estimations coming in at a whopping $25.6 billion for 2007. The most notable projects include the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and the new Yankee Stadium.