January 4th - January 10th, 2008
Australia retail developer signs NY Ground Zero deal
January 4th: Australia's Westfield Group will jointly develop and operate a $1.45 billion retail project at the World Trade Center, site of Sept. 11 attacks, after striking a deal on Friday with the agency that owns the land, according to Reuters.
Westfield leased about 500,000 square feet of retail space at the World Trade Center before it was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"This agreement will provide the business and residential communities in lower Manhattan with a major economic boost and create a further incentive to relocate downtown," New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in a statement.
Port misses deadline
January 4th: As anticipated, the Port Authority announced that excavation of the eastern World Trade Center bathtub would not be complete by the end of the year. The work may last into mid-February and could cost the Port Authority $13.5 million, as reported in the Downtown Express.
Anthony Shorris, the Port's executive director, said there was more rock on the site than expected, requiring an extra four to six weeks of work. The delay will have no impact on the long-term work schedule.
The Port's next deadline is June 30, 2008, when they will turn the Tower 2 site over to Silverstein or face similar penalties.
Pier Review Finds $125M Price Tag
January 8th: -- A community group leading the fight against a proposed mega-arts center on Pier 40 in Hudson River Park has put the cost of immediate repairs needed to save the structure at a staggering $125 million - four times more than earlier estimates, according to a story in the NY Post.
In addition to the cost of repairs, the Partnership would have to come up with $130 million to pay for improvements, under its plan.
The Park Trust is now considering two commercial proposals. A bid by the Related Companies would put a performing-arts center on the pier, creating a new home for Cirque du Soleil and for the Tribeca Film Festival, along with restaurants and shops.
A second proposal, from CampGroup, would create a private summer camp, along with year-round athletic facilities, including pools and a complex of basketball courts that would be available for use by city schools.
Both proposals would also maintain public soccer fields and continue to offer indoor parking.
Officials at the Hudson River Park Trust said they are reviewing the partnership's report and expect to discuss the findings at a Jan. 31 meeting of the park's board.
Demolition to Resume at Deutsche Bank Site
January 10th: After nearly five months of inactivity, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is close to restarting the demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building, where work halted in August after two firefighters died fighting a blaze in the building according to the New York Times.
A long-simmering dispute between the redevelopment corporation and its construction manager, Bovis Lend Lease, has been resolved. As part of the resolution, the development corporation announced on Tuesday that it had approved the hiring of a new subcontractor, LVI Environmental Services Inc., to strip the building at 130 Liberty Street of asbestos and other hazardous substances and then demolish the remaining structure. The LMDC says the abatement work will begin very soon. According to the Downtown Express, LMDC has agreed to conduct a public hearing soon to discuss the project.
LVI will replace the John Galt Corporation, the subcontractor that was removed after evidence indicated that smoking by its workers may have caused the fire.
Demolition underway at 99 Church Street
Silverstein Properties says crews began external deconstruction this week on the 11 story non-landmarked property. According to a spokesman, Larry Silverstein plans to begin construction on a luxury hotel -condo this summer at the site.
Merrill to stay?
Published reports say Merrill Lynch is inching closer to staying at the World Financial Center.Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the Downtown Express that Merrill Lynch is currently discussing a renewal of their lease. The Wall Street Journal reported that Merrill may extend its lease by five years to 2018.