August 31st - September 4th, 2009
A new poll casts doubt on the WTC schedule
September 1 – Many New Yorkers are skeptical that the WTC site will be finished on schedule, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University. It found 61% of registered voters don’t think the September 11 Memorial will be open in time for the 10th anniversary; 63% said they doubt that the Freedom Tower will be finished by 2014, which is what the Port Authority’s schedule says. In addition, 53% said they felt redevelopment of Lower Manhattan was going somewhat or very badly.
The Cityâ€™s DOB goes high tech
September 1 – The City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has begun tracking the whereabouts of its 379 buildings inspectors using GPS cell phones, according to GlobeSt.com. The system allows DOB to monitor real time movements of their inspectors. DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri said, “This is a simple, innovative way to ensure inspectors reach their assigned locations and are held accountable for their important work.” In Fiscal year 2009, DOB inspectors performed more than 445,000 inspections, an increase of about 1% from the year before. LiMandri said the new system will also help supervisors identify the closest inspector to assign to emergency situations.
New statistics on the dangers in the construction business
September 1 – The construction industry continue to have the most deaths among all industries, according to the latest report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a report in Engineering News Record, the data shows there were 969 fatalities in the construction industry in ’08, but that number is down 20% from 2007. The statistics point to construction companies working to improve jobsite safety and the amount of deaths could be attributed to the slowdown in construction. However, the number of fatal crane accidents rose sharply last year to 51, 11 of which occurred in NYC.
Wall Street types moving back
September 1 – More financial services executives are moving back to FiDi, according to a report in The Real Deal. It cites several real estate agents who signed deals with in the past 45 days on Broad Street and at the Visionaire on Little West Street. The story says companies relocating their execs back to Wall Street have also been more willing to pick up part of the tab of apartment purchases.
A longer timeline for the Deutsche bank building
September 2 – The deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank building might not be completed until next Fall, according to The New York Observer. The report says Bovis has submitted a plan with the Department of Buildings that would add another six months to the deconstruction schedule. A DOB spokesman told the paper the demolition plan has yet to be approved.
The City takes steps to improve the concrete testing business
September 2 – The City’s Department of Buildings will establish a new concrete unit within the Department to evaluate the strength of concrete on its projects, according to The New York Times. DOB plans to audit the work done by the three dozen companies it licenses to increase oversight of the concrete-testing industry. The moves come after allegations of widespread improprieties in the concrete testing business. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has two indictments pending against two concrete testing companies.
A major Downtown property goes up on the block
September 2 – 100 Church Street will soon be for grabs. S.L. Green Realty Corporation plans to put the property up for auction on October 15. This after the owner, the Sapir Organization, got into a battle with S.L. Green and Gramercy Capital over $85 million in loans that Sapir failed to pay.
The City steps up oversight of construction sites
September 3 – Mayor Bloomberg signed several bills designed to strengthen standpipe and sprinkler safety as well as increase safety at construction and demolition sites. The bills mandate that plans be submitted to the Department of Buildings (DOB) before demolition work begins. The legislation also establishes uniform color-coding of standpipe and sprinkler systems. The changes were made in response to the fatal 2007 fire at the Deutsche Bank building.
A delay in planting hundreds of trees at the September 11 Memorial
September 3 – Approximately 480 swamp white oak and sweet gum trees will not be planted at the WTC site until 2011, according to a report in Newsday. The Port Authority said the original planting date in 2010 has been put off because the memorial plaza won’t be completed until 2011. The trees, which are 20 to 30 feet tall, are being cared for in a New Jersey nursery.
225 Rector Place may soon be on the auction block
September 3 – A majority of the 305 apartments at 225 Rector remain unsold and developer Yair Levy is apparently ready to put the failed condo conversion up for auction. The Battery Park City Broadsheet Daily reports residents are worried the new owner may try to then sell units at a steep discount from market prices, wiping out the value of everyone’s apartment.
Bovis gets government contracts, despite questionable track record
September 4 – Approximately $6 million in federal stimulus money is going to Bovis Lend Lease to pay for renovations at two federal buildings in Downtown Brooklyn, even though the company has had legal problems. The New York Times reports the General Services Administration defended its decision, saying the company is not on the federal Excluded Parties List System, which determines a contractor’s eligibility. A Bovis spokeswoman pointed out neither the City nor the State has barred the company from work either.