August 4th - August 8th, 2008
Transit Center to Keep Design Similar to Original
August 4 – The Fulton Transit Center will have many ‘elegant’ characteristics of the earlier designs according to Michael Horodniceanu, the MTA’s new capital construction chief. Horodniceanu told The Daily News, “We’re going to make sure the project is delivered. It will be above ground. It will be transparent. The same elegant look will exist.” He said the glass dome might be off the drawing board, but the final version will include skylights to allow light to filter down to the main mezzanine.
Governor Focuses on WTC Memorial Construction
August 4 – Governor David Paterson told The Daily News editorial board that he wants the Memorial built as soon as possible. “Why don’t we prioritize and be a little bit spiritual and ethical about this? Why don’t we build a memorial -- just build it? I know we can build a building in three years. I know we can build a building by 9/11/11 and start there and then maybe everything will flow from that, and not upside down, which is where I think it is now.” Paterson added, “Our country is looking to us to put something up there that will honor the people that worked there and honor the civilization that was attacked that day. And we haven’t done it.”
Two Fatalities Outside World Financial Center
August 5 – Two window washers were killed when the cherry picker truck they were working on tipped over at the World Financial Center. The pedestrian walkway between Liberty and Vesey Streets where the truck was operating reportedly has a slight slope and rise which can make it difficult to steady the truck according to a report in Newsday. The men were cousins in their 30s and were related to the owner of the window-washing company, Shepard Industries. The fatal accident is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the city Buildings department, and the state Labor Department.
Freedom Tower Concrete Strength Questioned
August 7 – The Freedom Tower may be one of countless buildings and structures in the City that needs to have its concrete retested. According to The New York Times, Testwell Laboratories, which has done millions of dollars of concrete-testing work for the city, is under investigation after prosecutors claim the company often falsified test results. The company is denying the charges. Testwell tests the strength of concrete in buildings under construction and those already built; the company is also under investigation for its testing of steel and the presence of asbestos.
Governor Gets Tough on Crane Inspectors
August 7 – Governor Paterson signed legislation that has harsh penalties for those who falsify crane inspections at construction sites. The law requires that any inspector found to have falsified or knowingly made misstatements on an inspection report, or who has accepted a bribe, have his or her license permanently revoked. Also under the new law, it will be a Class D felony to compromise the integrity of the crane inspection licensing process.
Mayor Aims to Reduce City Construction Costs
August 7 – Mayor Bloomberg took steps to reduce the cost of construction in NYC. He unveiled reforms designed to lure a wider pool of bidders to projects. Bloomberg said even the addition of one extra bid per project is expected to drive down costs two to three percent. A report in Real Estate Weekly also says the city plans on establishing measures to more accurately estimate the value of projects.
Lower Rents Lure Young Tenants Downtown
August 7 – The Financial District is experiencing an influx of young affluent renters. A report by Citi Habitats says first time renters in 20s and 30s are being lured downtown by generous incentives including no broker fees, free rent, and complimentary moving costs. The New York Sun reports recent college graduates who used to flock to the Upper East Side are coming to Lower Manhattan because the rents are cheaper -- $3,495 compared to $3,600 for an average rental uptown.
Indictments Expected in 130 Liberty Fire Case
August 8 – The grand jury investigating last year’s fatal fire at the former Deutsche Bank building is expected to hand out indictments by the end of September, according to The Daily News. Sources told the paper among those expected to be named in the indictment are the employees of the private contractors as well as officials of several city agencies which have oversight of the building.
School Being Sought for New Seaport
August 8 – General Growth Properties, the company planning the New South Street Seaport, is studying population projections to determine if a new school should be a part of the project. The Downtown Express says parents and Community Board 1 are pressuring the development company to include a school in their plans. General Growth hasn’t said where in the project the new school could go. The current plan is to demolish the mall and build a 495-foot-tall hotel and condo along with low-rise retail and a large open plaza.
Downtown Neighborhoods Named Most Walk-able
August 8 – Lower Manhattan’s neighborhoods ranked among the most walk-able in the country. according to a website survey at Walkscore.com. In a Downtown Express report, Tribeca, Little Italy, and Soho top the list, while Chinatown, the Financial District, and Battery Park City come in a close second. The survey took into account the distance to stores, restaurants, schools, and parks.