October 25th - October 29th, 2010
Charges Stand in 2007 Deutsche Bank Fire
October 25 – A judge refused to dismiss manslaughter charges against three construction officials in connection with the fire which killed 2 firefighters. Mitchel Alvo, Salvatore DePaola and Jeffrey Melofchik now face a trial, according to NY1. The men claim they weren’t to blame for a severed standpipe in the building; prosecutors say the three were part of a cover up.
South Street Seaport Owner Emerges from Bankruptcy
October 25 – A federal judge approved a reorganization plan for General Growth Properties, whose properties include the Seaport. In a story in The New York Times, General Growth says the Seaport will be managed now by one of its two publicly traded companies, The Howard Hughes Corporation and its chairman, hedge fund manager, William A. Ackman.
Firms Hired for Fulton Street Transit Center (FSTC)
October 25 – Plaza Construction and Schiavone Construction will be working jointly on the $176 million project to modernize the station, according to a report in Real Estate Weekly. The scope of the work involves building the steel and glass entrance on Broadway, including the spectacular glass dome.
NYC Police Pension Fund (NYCPPF) Remains in FiDi
October 26 – The NYCPPF is renewing its lease at 233 Broadway. Real Estate Weekly reports the Fund signed a 20 year lease, taking 56,000 square feet on the 19th and 25th floors.
Financial Firm Expands
October 26 – Faunus Group (FGI) signed a new 11-year lease at 80 Broad Street, tripling its space from 6,000 to 18,000 square feet. The building, according to Real Estate Weekly, recently had its exterior, lobby and operating systems modernized.
Baseball Card Company Renews Lease
October 26 – The Topps Company, known for baseball cards and Bazooka Bubble Gum, renewed its lease at One Whitehall Street. Bill Rudin, speaking for his family’s company which owns the building, told Real Estate Weekly, “This lease is another affirmation of Downtown’s continued vitality.”
Lower Manhattan Vacancy Rate Rises
October 26 – The availability rate rose from 11.8% last year to 14.3% so far this year, according to Real Estate Weekly, in a report from CBRE. More than 2.5 million square feet has been added to the vacancy rte this year, compared with 1.56 million last year. However, a CBRE spokesman said the addition of large blocks of space has essentially come to a halt.
Doubts Raised Concerning Performing Arts Center
October 27 – Speaking to WNYC Radio, Mayor Bloomberg said he’s not sure the City will be able to raise enough private money to build the PAC. “It is certainly not a go until we find out whether we can raise $300 million,’ he said. The Mayor added the City cannot afford to pay for the Center itself.
50th Tree Planted on 9-11 Memorial Plaza
October 27 – Mayor Bloomberg was among those who ceremoniously shoveled dirt to plant the 50th tree on the Plaza; eventually 250 trees will surround the north and south reflecting pools and waterfalls.
Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) Names New President
October 28 – The Board voted to name Gayle Horwitz as the successor to outgoing President James Cavanaugh, according to The Battery Park City Broadsheet Daily. The move had been expected for months. Horwitz told the paper, “This community is already a great success so the focus has to be on maintaining that.”
City Promotes Creative Construction Site Covers
October 28 – Mayor Bloomberg announced four winners in an online ‘urban canvas’ competition; the designs will be available to contractors who want to beautify their construction sites. The New York Post reports the vinyl netting can be installed on buildings several stories high; however the contractors will have to foot the bill.
Global Management Company Moves into 180 Maiden Lane
October 28 – Opera Solutions Inc. signed a new lease for 11,161 square feet in the 41 story building, as reported by Real Estate Weekly. The building still has more than 19,000 sq ft vacant; it has stunning panoramic views of Lower Manhattan.
Architectural Firms Reports Increased Activity
October 28 – The Architectural Billings Index, reported by the American Institute of Architects, shows a growth in design activity for the first time since January 2008. Real Estate Weekly says the Index reflects an increase in demand for design services. One analyst said the improvement is encouraging, but needs to remain consistent over the next few months to show growth in the design and construction industry.