August 3rd - August 7th, 2009
Updated WTC Progress Report Expected
August 3 – The Daily News reported that a preliminary draft risk analysis document used internally by the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC), predicted all of the major projects at the WTC site would be delayed by years. The Port Authority defended its schedule, saying all of its dates released last fall are correct; the LMCCC said the document should not be considered valid until the ongoing review process is completed. Mayor Bloomberg called for the LMCCC to provide oversight of the Port Authority; on the same day, Governor Paterson issued an ultimatum, saying unless the two sides work it out, the PA is planning to redevelop the site without Larry Silverstein if necessary. Paterson’s letter to the PA instructed the agency to draft blueprints without including Silverstein’s buildings. That would mean the September 11th Memorial and other public projects would go forward without Mr. Silverstein’s towers. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “I am concerned that the path outlined by the Governor today will result in yet another standstill at the site and many more years of delay.” Governor Paterson is demanding both sides report to him with a progress report on August 12th.
PA Expects to Turnover Sites
August 3 – The Port Authority said it expects to finally complete the preliminary site work for Silverstein’s second and third towers and turn over the land to him by Monday, August 10th. The PA has been paying Silverstein fines of $300,000 a day because of the delays.
Smoking on Construction Sites Continues
August 3 – Almost 1,000 violations have been issued for smoking at construction sites throughout the City according to The New York Post. The Department of Buildings (DOB) began a yearlong crackdown after the August 2007 deaths of two firefighters at the Deutsche Bank building in a fire that was started by cigarettes. The most-cited site with 9 citations was the W hotel construction site at 123 Washington Street, right across from the Deutsche building. DOB Commissioner LiMandri said, “Our inspectors will continue to enforce the smoking ban because the industry has got to change.”
Re-testing of Concrete Needed
August 3 – Nearly a year after allegations about rigged concrete tests surfaced, the DOB still has not retested approximately 60 buildings. The New York Times reports the Department blames the backlog on the nature and complexity of the task as well as the number and range of parties involved. The DOB said results from the three buildings that were retested – Yankee Stadium, Goldman Sachs and New York Presbyterian on East 68th – showed no safety concerns.
Chambers Street Work to Begin
August 3 – A portion of Chambers Street will be one-way westbound for about six weeks, according to the NYS Department of Transportation. The change between North End Avenue and West Street is necessary to do crosswalk reconstruction as part of the Route 9A promenade project.
LMDC Approves Additional 130 Liberty Funds
August 4 – The Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation approved another $2.5 million for the deconstruction/demolition of the Deutsche bank building.
The Board also approved a total of $830,000 for document and legal services pertaining to the project. The Downtown Express reported Chairman Avi Schick said the project’s price tag could rise by another $30 million before it’s done. He said the money approved at this Board meeting will run out at the end of November. Deconstruction of the building might begin after Labor Day and could take about six months.
Levin Appointed to LMDC Board
August 5 – The LMDC board is getting a new board member. Kate Levin, Commissioner of the City’s Cultural Affairs Department, will replace Martha Stark, who resigned in April. The Downtown Express reported the naming of Levin could signal that the Mayor wants to act on plans to build a Performing Arts Center on the WTC site.
Silverstein Seeks Arbitration
August 5 - Developer Larry Silverstein asked arbitrators to settle the WTC dispute. He blamed the Port Authority for delays on the site, a claim immediately dismissed by the Port Authority. Executive Director Chris Ward said, “This arbitration process cannot distract from the fundamental point, that SPI would rather have public dollars at risk in place of its own private investment.”
Post-Traumatic Stress Continues
August 5 – Some of the 46,000 people who were exposed to the attacks on September 11, 2001 continue to have elevated risks of post-traumatic stress according to the latest study by the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Associated Press reports 19 percent reported having symptoms, compared with 14 percent in the last survey in 2003. The study also found that among those who developed respiratory symptoms after the attacks, some are still being diagnosed with asthma years later, but those rates are consistent with normal asthma rates.
Memorial Plaza to be Open for Ceremony
August 5 – For the first time, the Memorial Plaza will be open for the families on the 8th anniversary of the attacks, according to a report in The Daily News. Concrete has been poured over the 2,400 tons of steel to permit special access for the families, according to the Port Authority. Last year, the families were allowed down into the pit for the ceremony, but since then the ramp has been removed.