March 30th - April 3rd, 2009
Memorial Coin Pursued
March 30 – The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation has hired lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato, according to The Daily News. The former Senator’s lobbying firm, Park Strategies will be paid $50,000 for six months to help the Foundation ‘navigate the legislative process and explore other channels for federal support.” A spokeswoman for the Foundation said D’Amato was hired for his familiarity with commemorative coin legislation; the Foundation hopes to win approval for a 9-11 coin.
Freedom Tower Changes Name
March 30 – The Port Authority announced a name change for the Freedom Tower. It will now be called One World Trade Center. The PA said the name change will make the building more marketable to potential tenants.
Silverstein and PA Continue Negotiations
March 30- In its negotiations with developer Larry Silverstein, the Port Authority is now asking him to put cash into the deal to build at the WTC site before the PA provides financial assistance. GlobeSt.com is reporting that it may be difficult for Silverstein to put up equity right now because of the economic turmoil. The negotiations are continuing.
Fulton Transit Steel Awarded
March 30 – DCM Erectors was awarded a $338.9 million contract for the structural steel at the Fulton Street transit hub. GlobeSt.com reported that DCM will furnish, fabricate and erect 22,305 tons of steel. It’s the largest contract issued to date for the WTC site. The Port Authority said DCM’s bid came in at the cost estimate for the project. DCM has already fabricated structural steel for the Freedom tower and Tower 4.
Work Continues at 99 Church Street
March 31 – Developer Larry Silverstein told The New York Post that the foundation for 99 Church Street will be finished this summer. At that point, he added, he hopes to have the construction financing in place to complete the project. The paper also reported that there’s no way to build only the hotel portion, which is 22 stories, and add the condo portion later, meaning it will be all or nothing for 99 Church Street.
City Receives Stimulus Money
March 31 – New York City will receive approximately $261 million in federal stimulus money. Some of the money will be spent on infrastructure projects downtown, such as repairing the ramps on the Brooklyn Bridge and giving it a new coat of paint. Mayor Bloomberg was joined by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in announcing that the money will be used for 25 construction projects citywide.
Office Rents Plummet
March 31- The first quarter numbers are in for Manhattan’s office market and the numbers are dismal. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, the average vacancy rate in Manhattan is about 12 percent. The average asking rent plummeted almost $10 a square foot to around $65. Downtown, the vacancy rate is about 10.8 percent, but it’s expected to go higher as more companies shed employees and space. The vacancy rate in Midtown is 13.3%.
Governorâ€™s Island to Open This Summer
March 31 – There’s great news for people who want to visit Governor’s Island this summer. The State and City announced they will both contribute $7 million each so the island remains open to the public. The New York Post reports 200,000 people are expected to visit the Island this summer.
Unions and Builders Close to Compromise
April 1 – Construction unions and builders are closer to a deal to reduce labor costs at construction projects around the city, according to The New York Times. The agreement could impact work rules, wages and benefits and cut costs by 15 to 20 percent; builders wanted cuts of 25 percent. Builders are trying to find ways to keep their projects alive as rents fall. Among the developers pushing for a deal is Larry Silverstein who is building at Ground Zero. A recent report by the NY Building Congress predicted that the number of construction jobs, currently at 130,000, is expected to drop dramatically next year to about 100,000.
Second Security Network Planned
April 1 – The NYPD has plans to create a second security network in Midtown, similar to the one being installed in Lower Manhattan. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it would include license plate readers, heavily armed officers and a network of private and public surveillance cameras. The NY Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, which Kelly says will create a ‘ring of steel’ around downtown. Meanwhile, the NYPD is moving ahead with Operation Sentinel, a program which tracks every vehicle entering Manhattan.
Stop-Work Order Issued at Goldman Sachs
April 2 – A stop-work order was issued against the Goldman Sachs building after a hammer fell 18 stories from the construction site and crashed through the back windshield of a taxi cab on Murray Street. The taxi cab driver miraculously escaped injury and there was no passenger in the back seat. A spokesman for the Department of Buildings (DOB) said a worker apparently dropped the hammer as he was moving between the building and the external hoist elevator. DOB issued a violation against Tishman Construction. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is working with PS 89 and concerned parents to schedule a meeting with representatives of Goldman Sachs and Tishman to discuss the incident. A Tishman spokesman said the company is investigating what happened and how to prevent this from occurring again.
9-11 Victim Identified
April 2 – Another victim of 9-11 has been identified through DNA testing. The City Medical Examiner said the remains are that of 54 year old Manuel Emilio Mejia, who worked in the kitchen of the Windows on the World restaurant. The City has now identified the remains of 1,624 of the 2,749 people killed.
Small Fire Occurs at 130 Liberty
April 3- A small electrical fire broke out in a power distribution box at 130 Liberty Street and a stop work order was issued by the Department of Buildings. The LMDC issued a statement, saying the fire broke out around 2:45 am Thursday and that personnel were evacuated. There were no injuries. An investigation is underway.
Work Continues at Beekman Tower
April 3 – It looks like the rumors swirling around Beekman Tower were not true. A spokeswoman for developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) told The Downtown Express that the addition of new floors was stopped at 38 so FCR could look for ways to save money, possibly by re-bidding construction contracts. She added that work on the building is continuing.
Two Workers Injured at Separate Incidents
April 3- There were two construction accidents Downtown. A construction worker at the new South Ferry subway station suffered only minor injuries when he fell 50 feet down a ventilation shaft. Another construction worker was hospitalized when he was hit by a falling pipe at the Bowling Green subway station.