December 15th - December 19th, 2008
130 Liberty Indictments Expected Soon
December 15 – Mitch Alvo, an executive with the John Galt Corporation, could be hit with a manslaughter indictment this week for ordering his workers to illegally remove a standpipe in the Deutsche bank building. Alvo served at the site’s director of abatement and removal of the standpipe is allegedly a factor in the deaths of two firefighters. According to The New York Post, similar charges are expected to be leveled against Jeffrey Melofchik for failing to uncover the safety violations. A third unnamed individual may face a charge of criminally negligent homicide. The Post also says another grand jury will review possible fraud charges against the Galt Corporation.
PA and Silverstein Discuss Property Market
December 15 – The Port Authority and developer Larry Silverstein are discussing how to cope with the uncertainty in the property market. The Wall Street Journal reports the office and retail space meant to replace the WTC could be delayed until 2013. PA Executive Director Christopher Ward said, “Discussions are underway to ensure infrastructure and the buildings meet the markets at the right time.” Silverstein is floating the idea of having the PA use its balance sheet to finance the office buildings; another idea is to suspend Mr. Silverstein’s $79 million annual lease payments to the PA. also under discussion is building temporary development ‘pads’ in place of one or two of the towers to construct retail stores there. Once the markets recover, then the towers would be built on top.
Arbitrator Favors Silverstein
December 15 – An arbitration panel ruled the Port Authority must pay Larry Silverstein $20.1 million in fines plus interest for missing a deadline to turn over construction-ready land near Church Street. Silverstein went to court after the PA turned over property for Tower 2 and stopped paying late fees; Silverstein claimed a retaining wall was still on the site and the three-member panel agreed. Meanwhile, the PA says it will also miss its next deadline of December 31 to turn over two additional slivers of land, according to The Daily News.
New South Ferry Station to Open in January
December 15 – The new South Ferry No. 1 subway station will open sometime next month. The New York Times reports it has full length platforms, eliminating the need for passengers to be in the first five cars of the train to exit.
South Street Seaport for Sale
December 19 – The South Street Seaport is up for sale. The New York Post reports owner General Growth Properties is in debt and had proposed major changes at the Seaport, but now has the property listed for $200 million. The story says the most likely buyers are the Related Cos. and Vornado Realty Trust.
Rents Fall in Financial District and Battery Park City
December 19 – Rents in Battery Park City and the Financial District have fallen considerably in the last month. A report from CitiHabitats says studios dropped 6.6 percent, two bedrooms fell by 2.5 percent and rent for a three bedroom apartment went down about 6.1 percent.