February 6th - February 10th, 2012
NY Judge Allows Tolls
February 6 -- The Wall Street Journal reported, a federal judge on Monday rejected demands to eliminate toll increases imposed last summer at bridge and tunnel crossings in New York and New Jersey, saying lawyers had failed to back up claims that a bistate agency that raised them was using increased revenues for other projects including the new World Trade Center.
Judge Richard Holwell said in a written ruling that it seemed unlikely that the lawsuit challenging the increases imposed in September will succeed. Still, he allowed the lawsuit to proceed, saying additional evidence can be gathered before he makes a final ruling.
AAA of New York and New Jersey brought the lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, saying the Port Authority is spending toll revenue on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. It cited a ruling in another case in which a court found that it was unconstitutional that a fee imposed on ferry passengers between Bridgeport, Conn., and Port Jefferson, N.Y., subsidized services with no actual or potential benefit to ferry passengers.
World Trade Center Estimate Increases
Navigant Consulting said the project is now expected to cost $14.8 billion, 35 percent more than the last estimate, of $11 billion, in 2008.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered the review of the World Trade Center site's owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, after the agency's board voted to raise bridge and tunnel tolls in August.
The Port Authority's new director, Patrick Foye, said Tuesday the agency was taking the auditing firm's recommendations seriously and would begin an overhaul of its structure.
LMCCC Staff Cuts Expected
February 8 – The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, charged with coordinating Downtown construction projects since 2006 will be losing five of its remaining seven staffers by the end of March, reported Downtown Express. However official confirm that the L.M.C.C.C’s role will be preserved.
DOT Monitors Intersections
February 8 -- Resident complaints of excessive speed by automobiles around Battery Park City may soon have new traffic lights and stop signs, reported Downtown Express. The Department of Transportation began studying three intersections – North End Avenue and Warren Street, North End Avenue and Murray Street and South End Avenue and West Thames Street – to determine whether they need different traffic signals.
Huge WTC Retail Deal
February 9 -- The Port Authority’s board is expected to approve an agreement with global shopping center owner Westfield Group for a 50 percent stake in the World Trade Center’s sprawling retail space, reported the New York Post.
Last July, the two groups announced an agreement in principle for 365,000 square feet, with an additional 90,000 square feet to be included once Tower 2 is completed. The venture is valued at $1.225 billion with Westfield funding $612.5 million in increments as progress is made with development and leasing. The opening is not expected until 2015.
Downtownâ€™s Leasing Activity Rises
February 9 – Crain’s New York reports, commercial leasing in Manhattan began the year on a strong negative note, continuing the downward trend that started early in the second half of 2011. Renewed concerns about the economy have pushed many companies to reconsider plans to move or expand and forcing some to retrench.
Leasing activity in January tumbled 26% to 1.9 million square feet, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. That setback followed a year in which leasing rose 16%, after a strong start to the year was followed by a 31% decline in the amount of space leased in the second half of the year, a figure which was also nearly 10% lower than volume in the second half of 2010.
Downtown was the only one of the three major Manhattan submarkets where leasing activity rose last month. There, leasing soared 62% to 642,272 square feet.
There was no major blockbuster transaction that accounted for the surge, but that there were a number of midsized deals that boosted demand. In comparison, the city's largest submarket, midtown, activity slid 45% to one million square feet.
Fake Electronics Confiscated in Lower Manhattan
February 9 -- The NYPD has arrested two people and confiscated thousands of counterfeit electronics worth nearly $1 million on the street, reported the Associated Press. Police say they executed a warrant at the Lower Manhattan location on Thursday. They recovered 4,200 pairs of fake Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, 500 counterfeit iPhones and iPods and 19 fake iPads.