June 30th - July 6th, 2006
Freedom Tower Finding Tenants
Friday, June 30th: According to the New York Times, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency intends to occupy 600,000 square feet of space in the Freedom Tower, Governor George Pataki announced. That space comprises about a quarter of the tower's total square footage. The New York State Office of General Services also announced that it will occupy anywhere from 400,000 to one million square feet of space as its leases expire in other downtown office buildings, the Times continued.
The General Services Administration noted that the memo about the Customs House's plans to inhabit the Freedom Tower is not a letter of intent and no lease has been signed, reported the Times. Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia said, "We're pleased that the governor has aggressively sought tenants for the Freedom Tower on the state and federal level."
WTC Memorial Design Approved
Saturday, July 1st: The scaled-back design for the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum was approved by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) on Friday, Newsday reported. Developer and project consultant Frank Sciame redesigned the Memorial while keeping the defining elements such as the reflecting pools, the newspaper continued. As part of the redesign, the size of the museum will shrink, victim's names will be displayed at street level, and the Port Authority will control construction. According to Newsday, the project will now cost $690 million, and if work begins on time this summer the memorial could open by September 11, 2009.
Deutsche Bank Building Searches to Continue
Tuesday, July 4th: The extended search for remains at 130 Liberty Street commenced on July 5th, after a two-month suspension by environmental officials, the Associated Press reported. The building's roof will be cleared by workers wearing protective masks to prevent them from inhaling toxins and chemicals such as asbestos, the AP continued, as they search for more remains during the cleanup process. More than 600 bone fragments have been discovered at 130 Liberty since the beginning of the building's deconstruction, added the AP.
Lower Manhattans Future Coming into Focus
Wednesday, July 6th: The makeover of one of downtown's most-traveled thoroughfares was celebrated today in Battery Park City, as the New York State Department of Transportation (SDOT) wraps up the Promenade South project. The $70 million project was completed in just 18 months, bringing a tree-lined promenade, safer crosswalks, and a rehabilitated Battery Park Underpass to West Street (Route 9A) from West Thames Street to the Battery. For more on this story, click here.
Strike in Lower Manhattan Halts Progress
Wednesday, July 6th: The union that represents more than 3,000 crane and heavy machine operators, the International Union of Operating Engineers, went on strike this week causing work stoppage around the country, the Associated Press reported. In Lower Manhattan, Freedom Tower excavation planned to begin Wednesday was disrupted by crane operators who have not reported for work, the AP continued. "The work stoppage continues," Chris Ward, managing director of the General Contractors Association of Greater New York, told Newsday. "No negotiations are planned at this point and all major public work projects are currently shut down," he continued. Union contracts expired on Saturday, July 1st, the AP continued, and no new contract has been signed.
According to the Daily News, Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered union and management leaders Gracie Mansion as a negotiation site, and mayoral spokesperson Stu Loeser added, "The mayor reached out to both sides." Many New Yorkers are getting frustrated by the lack of work being done and would like both sides to work out their problems and resume work, the newspaper continued. Pataki said in a speech promoting rebuilding that he feels that it is "totally wrong that both parties are not at the table. They should just go back to the table, sit down, lock themselves in a room, get the thing resolved and end this strike as quickly as possible," reported the Daily News.