April 12th - April 16th, 2010
City Takes Over Governors Island
April 12 - The agreement, announced yesterday after a year’s worth of negotiations, allows the city to convert much of the 172 acre island into a public park. The plans also include a high school and a satellite campus for NYU. The City and the State had jointly operated the Island since 2003. According to The New York Times, the state has been able to match the city’s financial commitment to developing the Island. Operating Governor’s Island is expected to cost the City $20 million over the next five years.
More Potential Victims Remains Found
April 13 – Ten more possible human remains are being examined by forensic anthropologists. They were found, according to The Staten Island Advance, among the 844 cubic yards of debris excavated from a third search in and around Ground Zero. That brings to 36 the number of possible remains found since the operation began last week.
City Hall is Going Solar
April 13 – Mayor Bloomberg unveiled a plan to install solar panels on top of City Hall, which could generate 27,700 kilowatts a year. The New York Post reports that would be enough power for half of the lights and computers in City Hall. Because it’s a landmark building, the Landmarks Commission would have to approve the change. The solar panels are part of a $100 million makeover of the building, which was put up in 1812.
9-11 Health Lawsuit Judge Speaks Out
April 13 – US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein told a roomful of attorneys handling the thousands of cases, “I have no idea what’s going on. No one’s reported any progress.” Hellerstein was referring to the City and the lawyers involved in the talks; he said they have refused to say if they’re making progress on his request for more money for the plantiffs and lower legal fees for the workers. Both sides told Newsday they have been meeting with two ‘special masters’ appointed by Hellerstein to oversee the cases. In a related story, Hellerstein ruled that more than 600 contract workers who cleaned up buildings outside Ground Zero can start giving depositions in their lawsuit against Verizon.
Steel from the WTC Site Returns to Pennsylvania
April 14 – More than 500 tons of steel that was forged in Coatesville, Pennsylvania back in the 1960’s to form the first nine floors of the twin towers, is coming home. A convoy hauling 10 50-ton beams made its way over the George Washington Bridge yesterday. The steel had been stored at Kennedy Airport and will be turned into a memorial by the Graystone Society in Coatesville. The Daily News reports the Port Authority has been giving steel to police and fire departments and cities and towns all over the US for memorials; 900 requests have been received so far.
Former AIG Space is Now Available
April 14 – The lower half of 70 Pine Street, the former AIG tower, is now up for grabs, with asking rents in the mid 30”s, according to The New York Post. The story says the rest of the 1 million square foot, 66 story tower will become residential and hotel.
Governorâ€™s Island Could get More Ferry Service
April 14- Crain’s New York Business is reporting that GIPEC, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, has been meeting with the National Park Service, in an attempt to expand ferry service to the Island. The plan is to have the ferries that stop at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty also bring visitors to Governors.
Community Leaders try to Lure NYU
April 15 – Julie Menin, Chairperson of CB1, told The New York Post, she and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer are talking with NYU about constructing a 40 story building on the Tower 5 site, which has also been mentioned as a site for the PFC, Performing Arts Center. NYU is holding public hearings on its expansion plans in the Village.
Terrorist Trial Locations Remains Undecided
April 15 – A decision on the location of the trials is still ‘a few weeks away’, according to Attorney General Eric Holder. He testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and said “Lower Manhattan is not off the table.” But Senator Chuck Schumer told The Daily News, the Obama administration is not going to hold the trial in NY; he said, “They should just say it already.”
Appeal Filed in Ground Zero Lawsuit
April 15 – Lawyers defending the City and its contractors against lawsuits from 10,000 rescue workers are challenging a judge’s authority to block the $575 million settlement, according to The New York Times. The appeal questions the judge’s decision to question the amounts to be received by the plaintiffs.
CB Richard Ellis has a Positive Outlook on Downtown
April 15 – CB Richard Ellis told GlobeSt.com the prediction of a nearly 20% vacancy rate in Lower Manhattan is ‘not accurate.’ The company issued a white paper which says Downtown is positioned to weather the storm of the available office space coming online. EVP Bruce Surry pointed out, 1.8 million square feet have been rented so far this year, compared with 523,000 at the same time last year. Surry also predicted the vacancy rate might peak at 16-17%.
Menin Calls for Moving PAC
April 16 – Julie Menin, President of CB1, told The Downtown Express, that a recently revealed pot of $150 million at the LMDC should be used to build the PAC. LMDC claims the money is left over from a fund designed to help utility companies recover from 9-11. Menin and several LMDC board members feel the PAC should be built where the Deutsche bank building stands now.
NYC Eyes Battery Park City
April 16 – Comptroller John Liu says earlier this year, the mayor asked him to study the feasibility of the City taking over Battery Park City, which is now under the state’s jurisdiction. Liu told The Downtown Express he has not decided whether the city would benefit from the takeover. The city would have to assume the complex’s $1 billion in debt and maintain the facility, but it would receive all the revenue from property taxes and ground rents.
Upbeat Construction Industry News
April 16 – The latest statistics from the NYS Department of Labor show an increase of 2,500 construction jobs in March. The report also showed continued weakness in the securities industry, which lost 700 jobs last month in a report in Crain’s.
Hotel Industry Foresees a Dip in New Hotels
April 16 – Manhattan will welcome 32 new hotels by the end of the year and another five in 2011, but that will probably be the peak for a while. Lodging Development Group (LDG) says there are no new hotels slated beyond the 6,976 rooms that will come on line in the next two years. The report, published on GlobeSt.com, also points out there are approximately 85 hotel projects, with more than 10,000 rooms, that have been stalled because of zoning or financing issues.