October 20th - October 26th, 2012
CB1 Panel Urges Speedy Opening of Community Center
October 20 - The October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City committee of Community Board 1 included a discussion of the long-delayed community center on North End Avenue that considered, for the first time in public, the possibility of the facility opening with an operator other than Asphalt Green. The Broadsheet reports that Asphalt Green is the non-profit group that runs a highly regarded athletic facility on the Upper East Side, and was selected by the Battery Park City Authority in 2010 to operate the new community center planned for North End Avenue. In the years since, the community center has been largely completed (the BPCA says a few final permits and inspections are pending), but the facility has remained closed more than 12 months past its originally planned opening date. Recently, the Authority acknowledged that it is attempting to renegotiate the contract it signed with Asphalt Green in 2010. A resolution based on this discussion is now being drafted and will be discussed at the full monthly meeting of CB1, on October 23.
Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Named After Late Gov. Hugh Carey
October 22 - The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel has been renamed in honor of the late Gov. Hugh Carey. CBS New York reported that the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially renamed the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel on October 22, nearly two years after Albany gave the name change the green light. Former Mayor Ed Koch lobbied for the change, calling it a fitting tribute for a man who is credited with saving New York during the fiscal crisis in the 1970s and helping create Battery Park City, the Jacob K. Javits Center, and the South Street Seaport. City, state and MTA officials were joined by Careys relatives at the 11 a.m. dedication ceremony.
World Trade Center Antenna Delivery to Proceed After Pact
October 23 - ADF Group said it reached an agreement with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to end a dispute over the antenna that is to top 1 World Trade Center, allowing delivery and erection of the structure to proceed. According to Bloomberg.com, the Port Authority sued the Terrebonne, Quebec-based company in New York State Supreme Court on Oct. 13 for holding hostage the antenna that is to top the skyscraper, which is under construction. ADF and the Port Authority said in separate statements today that the two sides have reached an agreement to resolve their dispute that includes a resolution of the lawsuit. Terms of the pact are confidential, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said. The antenna, designed in collaboration with artist Kenneth Snelson, is part of the tower crown and will allow the building to reach a symbolic height of 1,776 feet, according to a website for the project. The skyscraper will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and serve as a symbol of recovery after the original towers collapsed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the complaint. Delivery of the steel for the antenna could come as soon as next month and the skyscraper is scheduled for completion before the end of March 2014.
Trade Center Rents Will Rival Midtown, Silverstein Says
October 24 - Office rents in the new towers at Lower Manhattans World Trade Center will rise to levels very close to those for high-quality spaces in Midtown, said Larry Silverstein, who is building one of the skyscrapers, reported Bloomberg News. Silverstein is developing 4 WTC, a 72-story skyscraper that is the shorter of the pair under construction at the site. The Port Authority is building the 1,776-foot 1 WTC. Leasing costs downtown have traditionally lagged behind Midtown, where financial firms have paid some of the highest office rents in the U.S. Silverstein has about 1.2 million square feet left to lease in 4 WTC, which is slated for completion by the end of next year. The Port Authority, which has teamed with developer Douglas Durst on 1 WTC, has about 1.4 million square feet unrented and is scheduled to open in early 2014. Tenants will be attracted to the state-of-the-art technology and sustainable architecture of the towers, Silverstein said in the interview. While financial companies have been delaying leasing decisions until they get a better sense of future taxation and regulation levels following the U.S. elections, Silverstein said he is not counting them out.
CB1 Clashes with Landmarks Commission Over Proposed Seaport Sign at Pier 17
October 24 - A large illuminated sign slated for the proposed redesign of Pier 17 on the South Street Seaport is pitting the local community board against the City Landmarks Preservation Commission over the appropriateness of the structure. According to DNAinfo.com, Community Board 1 has given the thumbs-down to the design proposed by the Howard Hughes Corp. -- featuring 9-by-90-foot letters spelling out Seaport or The Seaport on the facade of the building -- despite the LPC unanimously approving the design Tuesday. CB1 supported a committee resolution from earlier this month rejecting several parts of the signage proposal, noting concerns that the sign would overwhelm the pier and new facade of the complex. However, CB1 and the commission agreed to approve other signage proposals that are part of the Pier 17 redevelopment plan, including 10-foot-tall information signs that will help visitors navigate South Street Seaport and the new Pier 17 complex and painted Seaport Market sign on the side of the structure. CB1 plans to ask the LPC to reconsider its ruling on the illuminated sign, and also to extend the federal historic district to incorporate those boundaries into the New York City historic district.
Missing for 60 Years, a Bit of Cortlandt Street Will Return
October 25 - Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan was where demolition began in 1965 for what was to become the World Trade Center. Then the street itself was sacrificed, for three blocks, to help create an unbroken 16-acre site for the twin towers. In four months, however, workers will begin restoring one of the missing blocks of Cortlandt Street, between Church and Greenwich Streets, as Cortlandt Way. The New York Times reports that Cortlandt Way will be a hybrid; not entirely restricted but not exactly public, either. Much like an ordinary street downtown, it will be a canyon among skyscrapers. But it will be owned and controlled by the Port Authority. Cortlandt Way will be closed to traffic but open to pedestrians, preferably those with money to shop. And it will be open to the sky. That is the biggest difference between the Cortlandt Way that is to be built and the Cortlandt Way that the Port Authority planned in 2005. Cortlandt Way will be an open-air walkway framed by 10,500 square feet of retail space at the base of 4 WTC and 5,000 square feet of retail space at the base of 3 WTC, which would also have a large entrance lobby leading to the WTC Transportation Hub. Work will begin next February and run through July 2015, and the streetscape design was reviewed and approved by Amanda Burden, the director of the City Planning Department.