April 23rd - April 27th, 2012
Port Authority and 9/11 Museum to Pay Subcontractors
April 19 - Payments were slated to go out Thursday to subcontractors who were stiffed while working on the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, reported Crains New York Business. The money is part of a pending deal to resume construction on the property, which now has a target completion date of June or July 2013. Ron Berger, executive director of the Subcontractors Trade Association, said officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told him they will shell out a total of $15 million starting Thursday. However, he said, work wont resume immediately because the construction schedule needs to be changed to meet the revised completion date. The museum was supposed to be completed this upcoming September, by the 11th anniversary of the attacks, but work came to a virtual standstill about six months ago when subcontractors essentially stopped showing up because they werent getting paid. There is a skeleton crew currently working on the site. The subcontractors were caught in the middle of a dispute between the Port, which owns the World Trade Center site, and museum officials over who is responsible for $150 million in costs on the project. They have been negotiating with the Port Authority, because it signed their contracts. Representatives from the Port and the museum didn't return calls for comment.
Hidrock Realty Pays $28M for 133 Greenwich St.
April 22 - Hidrock Realty has acquired the 6,160-square-foot development site at 133-135 Greenwich Street in Downtown Manhattan for $28 million, reported Citybizlist.com. The site has approved design plans created by architect Costas Kondylis for the construction of a150,000-square-foot, 33-story, mixed-use building. Developer Sam Zell had previously bid on the site in 2010 after its Israeli owners filed for bankruptcy. They had paid $45 million at the height of the real estate boom and planned a 203-room hotel. Hidrock plans to develop a 28-floor, 300-room hotel at an estimated cost of $70 million, according to Khodadadian. Situated on the southeast corner of Greenwich and Thames Streets, the new building is close to two major transit projects, the Fulton Street Transit Center and the World Trade Center PATH Station.
Parents Slam City Solutions for Downtown Kindergarten Waitlists
April 23 - DNAInfo.com reported that the city will deal with Downtown's record kindergarten waitlists by sending the extra kids to Chinatown or cramming more students into already-crowded local schools, Department of Education officials told parents Monday. Parents slammed the DOE proposals as inadequate for dealing with the nearly 100 children who were waitlisted this year at four of five area elementary schools. The parents, joined by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said the only real solution is to build another new school in Lower Manhattan. The city islaunching the new Peck Slip Schoolin temporary space in Tweed Courthouse this fall, but even with the addition of those 50 new kindergarten seats, Downtown still has dozens more applicants than available spots, said Drew Patterson, the DOE director of south Manhattan planning.
City Council to Assess Easing Steep Fines on Street Vendors
April 24 - The City Council is mulling a plan to lower fines against street vendors across the city, while strengthening regulations that would bar them from no parking zones, cab stations, and other areas, according to DNAInfo.com. The City Council heard from street vendors and their supporters at a hearing Tuesday over a proposal to reduce the fines for violations, which can soar as high as $1,000, to a maximum fine of $250. The relief for vendors could come alongside new restrictions on where vendors can set up shop, including prohibiting vending against or within taxi stands, in front of buildings service entrances and exits, and on the sidewalks alongside No Standinglicenses or parking their carts too close to the curb.
Empire State Building About to Lose Status as Tallest in NYC
April 24 - WNYC reports that World Trade Center could surpass the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York as soon as next week, an official said on Tuesday. The iconic Empire State Building, built in 1931, was the citys tallest at a height of 1,545 feet to the tip of its broadcast antenna until 1972 when it was overtaken by the original World Trade Center towers. It then regained the title after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which destroyed the complex. Construction started six years ago on the new World Trade Center and now the skyscraper, formerly called the Freedom Tower, is poised to surpass the 102-story Empire State Building, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye told reporters. "Weather permitting, we expect that we could exceed the height of the Empire State Building on Monday," Foye said. One World Trade Center will stand at 1,776 feet to the tip of its antenna when it is completed, possibly by late 2013.
Bovis Lend Lease Fined $56 Million for Fraud
April 24 - A U.S. subsidiary of Australia's Lend Lease Construction has admitted to a 10-year overbilling scheme on New York area projects and will pay $56 million in fines and victim restitution, prosecutors said on Tuesday. According to a Reuters report, Bovis Lend Lease, as the subsidiary was previously known, has its largest U.S. office in New York City, where it employs more than 1,000 people and has worked on projects such as the September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan and the Citi Field baseball stadium in Queens. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the company pleaded guilty to criminal charges it had a "systematic practice" between 1999 and 2009 of billing clients -- often government agencies -- for hours its workers had never worked.
19 OWS Protesters Arrested for Chaining Themselves Across Broadway
April 25 - DNAInfo.com reported that 19 Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested this week after chaining themselves together across Broadway during a demonstration that drew hundreds to Lower Manhattan, the NYPD said. The protesters chained their hands together and spread out across the busy thoroughfare to call for the taxation of Wall Street financial institutions to fund HIV/AIDS treatment, authorities and witnesses said. The first nine protesters were arrested about 9:45 a.m. and charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of government administration. Other witnesses said police used bolt cutters to slice through the chains before loading the protesters into a police van. A few hours later, 10 more people were arrested for chaining themselves across Broadway at Park Place, Winski, said. They were all charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of government administration and resisting arrest, he added. They were joined by hundreds more affiliated with OWS and the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) at the site about 1 p.m. for the mostly peaceful action. Police pegged the number of protesters at about 500 to 700, while demonstrators said about 1,000 gathered for the event.
Port Authority Chooses Company to Build Skylight for WTC Transit Hub
April 26 - A company has been chosen to build a skylight on top of the future transit hub at the World Trade Center site, NY1 reported. At a board meeting on April 26th, the Port Authority approved the nearly $30 million contract to the Encelos Corporation, a company that has built similar skylights around the world. The deal also includes a one-year maintenance program and a minimum five-year warranty on all major parts. The Port Authority also announced at the meeting that 1 World Trade Center will surpass the Empire State Building in height as early as Monday.