January 28th - February 1st, 2008
Congestion Pricing Clears First Roadblock
February 1, 2008- Congestion pricing has cleared its first roadblock. A state traffic commission voted on January 31 to charge motorists $8 to bring their cars into Manhattan below 60th street. The hotly debated plan now goes before lawmakers in Albany where it faces a contentious legislative battle. If lawmakers are able to come up with legislation to enact the plan, it will require a vote by the City Council and the Legislature by March 31st or the City risks losing $354.5 million in federal funds for mass transit. Supporters say congestion pricing will reduce traffic in the City; opponents say it unfairly targets the middle class in Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester. The plan will also increase metered parking costs in the City and is expected to generate $491million a year to improve mass transit.
Sander to give "State of the MTA"
February 1 - MTA CEO Elliot Sander is expected to speak soon on the 'state of the state of the MTA." According to a story in the Daily News, the speech will take place March 3rd in the Great Hall at Cooper Union and it will be the first time ever such a speech will be made. Sander will 'make the case' for the MTA's five year capital construction plans in light of constraints on the state budget. The capital plan is estimated at $30 billion and includes the Second Avenue subway, upgrading signals and communications systems as well as regular system maintenance. The capital plan could be in jeopardy if congestion pricing is not approved.
Restaurant to top the Freedom Tower
January 28- The Port Authority is planning to create a restaurant on top of the Freedom Tower that will be reminiscent of "Windows on the World." According to several published reports, the PA is looking for a restaurant operator to build and operate a 34,000 square foot restaurant on the 100th and 101st floors of the Freedom Tower. The restaurant could open in 2013 and will offer 360 degree views of NYC and the Hudson and East Rivers. Windows on the World occupied the 106th and 107th floor of the North tower; it was destroyed on September 11, 2001.
The Wall Street Journal to Move to Midtown
January 28- The Wall Street Journal newspaper is planning to move from the World Financial Center to Midtown sometime this year, according to the New York Times. The paper has been located in Lower Manhattan for 119 years. It was taken over by News Corporation last year and Chairman Rupert Murdoch plans to integrate the paper with his media empire in Midtown.
Four Season Hotel to Come Downtown
January 28- In a speech to a breakfast meeting of the Alliance for Downtown New York and the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association, Larry Silverstein, CEO of Silverstein Properties announced today that he plans to build a new 80-story tower Downtown at 99 Church Street that will include a 175-room Four Seasons Hotel and 143 private residences. "This will be tallest residential building in New York City," Silverstein said. The first 22 floors will house the 175 room hotel and the remaining 58 floors will be luxury condos. It is slated to be complete in 2010. There will be a public plaza on the east side of the building linking Park Place and Barclay Street. The president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Kathleen Taylor said, "We are proud and excited to be a part of this project."
Pier 40 Decision to Come Soon
February 1, 2008 - There's still no decision on the fate of Pier 40. The board of the Hudson River Park Trust met on Thursday, January 31 to consider two plans for Pier 40, but the vote was delayed. Board chairperson Diana Taylor told METRO, "It would not be in the best interest of the Trust to accept or reject either of the proposals as there are numerous questions about both of them." She said the board will meet with state and city officials over the next few weeks and readdress the plans at the end of March. The Board is considering proposals from the Related Company and CampGroup. Related's proposal is a $618 million dollar entertainment complex; CampGroup's $230 million dollar proposal is to build a day camp that would charge $1,000 a week per child. Last weekend, several hundred resident of Greenwich Village rallied to keep the pier a park. The Pier 40 Partnership has determined it would cost about $255 million for repairs and renovations so the park can be used by schools, shops and artists. They have pledged to raise $30 million of that.
NYU Proposes Campus on Governors Island
February 1, 2008- New York University has set its sites on Governor's Island. The New York Post reports the university wants to build a 1 million square foot campus on Governor's Island. The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, GIPEC, told the paper the university is a good fit, but there are no firm decisions yet on when it will accept proposals from prospective tenants.