March 23rd - March 27th, 2009
PA Weighs Financing Options
March 23 – The Port Authority is weighing whether to help Larry Silverstein finance one of the three towers he’s committed to build at the WTC site. Silverstein is saying he can’t secure the financing for two of the three towers himself because of the credit crisis. One source says the PA might ask Silverstein for some of the profit from the buildings as a concession. The three towers are projected to cost about $2 billion each. The New York Times says the PA is reluctant to back more than one tower right now because it’s facing a widening budget gap and declining revenues. Meanwhile, Silverstein Properties is criticizing the PA for delays at the site; the PA issued a statement saying it is making progress at the site.
Beekman Stops at 38 Floors
March 23 – Beekman Tower may be cut in half. Crain’s New York Business is reporting that developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) is reviewing the Frank Gehry-designed building, looking to top it out at 38 stories instead of the planned 76. FCR issued a statement assuring the community that the building public school and space for New York Downtown Hospital will be built as promised. The school is set to open in the fall of 2010; the hospital space will be available early next year.
Citigroup Consolidating Downtown Offices
March 23 – Citigroup announced it will be consolidating its office space throughout Manhattan including its locations at 77 Water Street and 250 West Street. GlobeSt.com reports the banking giant will reduce its real estate footprint by approximately 10.5 million square feet by the end of the year to substantially reduce expenses.
Downtown Real Estate Market Uncertain
March 23 – CB Richard Ellis says a ‘wait and see’ attitude prevails in the commercial real estate business right now and that climate is expected to continue throughout next year. Its latest report shows ’08 office sales in Manhattan fell by 69% from ’07 and the average weight price per square foot was $502, a 37% drop. Regarding Lower Manhattan, CBRE’s Vice Chair of investments William Shanahan said, “It would be nice to hear that they aren’t going to go with all the WTC footage as planned. If they stretch it out a little bit, that would be good news for Downtown.” Shanahan believes there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding some of the bigger tenants in Lower Manhattan and because of that, people tend not to make decisions.
Pier 40 Seeks Funds for Repairs
March 23 – The Hudson River Park Trust has applied for $57 million in federal stimulus money for Pier 40, according to The Downtown Express. Connie Fishman, who’s President of the Trust, said the site is ‘shovel ready’. The Trust hopes to use the money to repair the support pilings under the 14 acre pier, fix the pier’s roof and provide bumpers around the pier to protect it from boats. Fishman said it would be easier to lure a developer to the site if it didn’t need so many repairs.
Projects Halted Amid Downturn
March 24 – At least 30 construction projects in NYC have been halted because of the economic downturn, according to a report in Engineering News Record. The Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA) said nearly $5 billion worth of projects are delayed or stalled. In Lower Manhattan, Swig Equities has halted plans to convert 25 Broad Street into condos; the 62 story hotel planned for 45 Broad Street is on hold and Alexico Group is remaining mum about the fate of its 58 story tower at 56 Leonard Street.
WTC Antenna to be Displayed
March 23 – The TV antenna that once topped the north tower of the WTC will have a place at the 9-11 Memorial museum according to The New York Post. A salvaged 20 foot section of the 360 foot tall antenna will be in a gallery designed for it.
First Tenant Signs on with Freedom Tower
March 25 – The first tenant in the Freedom Tower will be a Chinese based company, according to a report in The New York Observer. Vantone Real Estate Company signed a lease for 190,000 square feet, taking first five floors in the Freedom Tower.
Liberty Crown May Reopen
March 25 – For the first time since 9-11, Lady Liberty’s crown may be open to the general public. The Daily News reports Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department is considering a ticket lottery system to allow small groups of people to enter the crown at specific times. Salazar says before that happens, the Statue of Liberty will have to go through a security assessment on April 15th. The base, pedestal and observation deck of the Statue reopened in August 2004, but the crown has remained closed.
Governorâ€™s Island Hearing Set
March 25- The City Council’s Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment and the Committee on Waterfronts will hold a joint hearing April 3 to address funding issues for Governor’s Island. Council member Alan Gerson told The Battery Park City Broadsheet Daily, the hearing will focus on funding to keep the island open this summer. The hearing will be held at 11 am.
Downtown Rail Link Still Necessary
March 26 – A new report by real estate executives and professors at Baruch College claims the JFK direct rail link is needed for Lower Manhattan to compete with Midtown. Crains Insider says the report, Downtown 2020, will be released publicly on April 7th. Meanwhile, Congressman Jerry Nadler continues to say it’s not worth spending $8 billion on a rail link that would only shave 6 minutes off the trip to JFK.