July 21st - July 27th, 2012
JP Morgan Chase Under Pressure Over Plaza Closure
July 20 - Chase Manhattan Plaza will remain closed until the spring, while JPMorgan Chase does a major waterproofing project that bank officials told angry residents Thursday night. According to DNAinfo.com, Chase officials denied that they shut down access to the 700,000-square-foot plaza in response to Occupy Wall Street, despite the fact that it happened a day before protesters arrived in an attempt to move into the plaza last September. Downtown residents were upset to lose one of the largest open spaces in the heart of the heavily developed Financial District. Their frustration grew as months passed and the plaza at Liberty and Nassau streets remained closed, with no visible sign of Chases promised construction taking place. A lawsuit seeking more information about the project was filed earlier this year. Chase officials said the plaza, which surrounds the skyscraper at One Chase Manhattan Plaza, had to close after the bank found extensive leaking. The bank has spent the past 10 months preparing to do the repair work, which has not yet begun. The work could start as soon as this week and will finish sometime next spring, by May at the latest. Several CB1 members questioned the banks statement that the closure had nothing to do with Occupy Wall Street -- especially since security guards at the plaza had told them the fences went up because of the protesters, not because of a waterproofing project.
M9 Bus Making a Comeback in 2013
July 23 - Residents of Lower Manhattan can breathe a sigh of relief as the M9 bus route will not only be restored, but also extended, reported BoweryBoogie.com. Word brokelast weekthat the MTA is planning $29.5 million in restorations as a result of additional revenue from increased ridership and several cost-saving measures. As part of the initiative, the MTA will restore the M9 bus into and out of Battery Park City beginning January 2013. You will recall that the service was eliminated during budget cuts in 2010, causing transportation issues for many riders. The M9 will be extended from 23rd to 29th street along 1st and 2nd avenues. The M9 will also extend from Park Row to Battery Park City along Warren, Murray and West Streets. In addition, the fare hike that was scheduled for January 2013 is pushed back two months to March.
DNA Facility Inks Deal to Open Lower Manhattan HQ
July 24 - A research center that will be the largest DNA sequencing and analytics facility in North America is moving into Lower Manhattan, officials announced Tuesday. WNYC and other news sources reported that the New York Genome Center -- a collaboration of 11 hospitals that serve about 10 million patients -- announced Tuesday that it signed a lease with real estate developer Minskoff Equities for 101 Sixth Avenue between Grand and Watts streets, in Hudson Square. The New York Genome Center is expected to open in 2013. The facility was expected to open this year, but the project faced delays as the group searched for a location that could accommodate its machinery and space requirements.Genome Center director Nancy Kelley announced that the group will also open a separate data storage facility downtown at 375 Pearl Street.
H&H Bagels Signs Lease Downtown
July 24 - It looks like the best-known baker of the most beloved form of carbohydrate in New York has returned almost as quickly as it departed earlier this year. A company called H&H Bagels signed a lease this month for 1,800 square feet at 125 Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, according tolease information published in The Real Deal. James Famularo of NYCRS represented H&H in the transaction, but could not immediately comment on it. Further, Grub Street reported that plans were filed with the Department of Buildings last week to convert the space into a new bagel store. Bread Factory Cafe last occupied the storefront, between Nassau and William streets. Grub Street said that because Bread Factory Cafe did its baking on the premises, and the required infrastructure is already in place, it appears likely that the H&H Bagels that signed the lease is, in fact, the same one that closed its two stores -- on the Upper West Side and far West Side -- in the last year. Especially since H&H owner, Randy Narod,said he has been hoping to reopenever since those outlets shuttered.
New Hitch In Ground Zero Plans - No Takers
July 25 - For years, rebuilding of the World Trade Center site was held up by construction delays and fights between government agencies, insurers and a developer. Now the problem is a lack of tenants, reported the Wall Street Journal. While two office buildings are well underway at Ground Zero, construction of a third tower, 3 WTC, is stalled at eight stories, well shy of the 80 floors planned. The reason: its developer, Silverstein Properties Inc, the company run by Larry Silverstein, has not been able to find a tenant, and he cannot build any higher without one, based on a two-year-old deal with government agencies. When Silverstein started construction in mid-2010 on the building, then-expected to have 2.5 million square feet of space, he had hoped he would be able to find a tenant by now and keep building to the tower top. But cement stopped pouring at the 8th floor in the past few weeks. The stunted growth of 3 WTC reflects the stagnation that has taken hold in the largest office market in the nation and the struggles Lower Manhattan faces in rebuilding the more than 11 million square feet of space lost in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Silverstein hopes he can resume the upward momentum on 3 WTC soon. His neighboring tower at the site, 4 WTC, is due for completion by late 2013 and is about half-leased by government agencies. Plans for 2 WTC, which would have been the second-largest tower on the site, have been put on the shelf. As for 3 WTC, Silverstein needs a tenant of at least 400,000 square feet to continue, based on a 2010 subsidy deal with government agencies. Without it, the first eight floors would be completed, perhaps to hold retail.
Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Report on Occupy Protests
July 25 - During Occupy Wall Street protests New York police officers obstructed news reporters and legal observers, conducted frequent surveillance, wrongly limited public gatherings and enforced arbitrary rules, a group of lawyers said ina lengthy reportissued on Wednesday. The New York Times reported that the group, called the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which included people involved with the law clinics at New York University School of Law and Fordham Law School, said that they had cataloged hundreds of instances of what they described as excessive force and other forms of police misconduct said to have taken place since September, when the Occupy Wall Street movement began. The report complained that there had been near-complete impunity for alleged abuses and said that the conduct amounted to a complex mapping of protest suppression. In addition to detailing 130 instances of what was described as excessive or unnecessary force, the report said that officers often stopped news reporters or legal monitors from witnessing such events. The authors called for the city to establish an inspector general to oversee the police department, a review of the city's response to the protests, the prosecution of officers found to have broken laws and the creation of new guidelines for policing protests. If the city did not respond, the authors said, they would ask the United States Department of Justice to investigate their complaints.
Battery Maritime Building Inks Lease Deal
July 26 - After years of negotiations and waiting for financing, the Dermot Co. and the Poulakakos family have finally closed on their 99-year lease of the Battery Maritime Building with the city, reported the NY Post. The lease, according to public documents, also has five, 10-year options to renew. Architect Ishmael Leyva and interior specialists can now work their magic on the space to create restaurants, a live performance space, catering and a rooftop restaurant and bar. Previous announcements said a new building will rise next door to accommodate a boutique hotel, now planned for just under 70 keys. Completed in 1909, the dramatic multi-story cast iron and copper BMB is now used for boarding the free Friday, weekend and holiday Monday ferries to Governors Island.