April 21st - April 25th, 2008
Goldman Sachs Discusses Leases with AIG
April 22 â€“ The New York Post reports that Goldman Sachs is in discussions with insurance giant AIG to lease space at 180 Maiden Lane. The report says AIG would establish its headquarters there and sell 70 Pine Street. Real estate experts say if that happens, 70 Pine Street might be converted to residential space.
NYC 9/11 Benefit Program Announced
April 22 â€“ The NYC 9/11 Benefit Program announced it will cover mental health care for New Yorkers who are still struggling with psychological problems from the attacks. Counseling would cover those who lost a family member, were injured on 9/11 or who worked at the WTC. Information is available by calling 311 or going to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc/html/mhb/about.shtml
PATH Station Funds to be Redirected
April 22- Money that was allocated for the PATH station might be redirected to other transportation projects such as the renovation of Penn Station. The New York Sun reported that several planning and development sources think the change in leadership at the Port Authority could allow Governor Paterson to shift priorities. However, if Mr. Paterson moves to cut the PATH station, he would face political and regulatory hurdles as the money for the PATH is financed by the federal government.
NYC Buildings Commissioner Resigns
April 23 â€“ NYC Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster resigned amid growing pressure from City Hall for a sharp increase in the number of fatal construction accidents. In a statement, the Mayor credited Lancaster with modernizing the Department of Buildings and rewriting the cityâ€™s confusing building code. Her deputy Robert LiMandri will serve as acting Commissioner until the administration names a replacement. There have been a dozen fatal construction accidents so far this year- the same number as in all of 2007.
Whitman Not Held Liable
April 23- An appeals court ruled that former EPA chief Christie Whitman cannot be held personally liable for telling New Yorkers that the air near Ground Zero was safe after 9-11. The 28 page ruling from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said there was no evidence that Whitman knew that she was giving the public false information. The ruling is being criticized by first responders, recovery workers and local residents who became ill after the towers fell.
Newsweek Move Premature
April 23 â€“ Reports that Newsweek was considering moving to from midtown to 100 Church Street may have been premature. The New York Observer reports Newsweek is still shopping around. Newsweekâ€™s broker told the paper, â€œWe are looking at several places and Church Street is one of themâ€ Newsweek is currently located at 1175 Broadway and 57th street. It announced its intent to move to Lower Manhattan 3 months ago, but one source says â€œthe market has shifted and theyâ€™re a cost-conscious tenant.â€
Progress Reports Sought
April 24 â€“ Assemblyman Richard Brodsky introduced legislation that would require the Empire State Development Corporation to provide the legislature with progress reports of the cityâ€™s biggest capital development projects. According to The New York Sun, Brodskyâ€™s legislation is an attempt to provide greater transparency and accountability on the following projects: the West Side rail yards, extension of the no. 7 train, Willets Point, the WTC site and PATH station, Atlantic Yards, the Jacob Javits Center and proposed overhaul of Penn Station. An ESDC spokesman said the agency has always complied with requests for information from the Assembly and will review the legislation.
WTC Memorial to be Completed in 2010
April 24 â€“ A memo obtained by The New York Post has Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia reprimanding his staff about rolling back the deadline for the WTC Memorial. The paper says PA construction officials have suggested that the completion date be extended because of recent significant technical and financial challenges, but Coscia in the memo says, â€œThe board of commissioners committed to these deadlines because we recognized the critical need to accelerate redevelopment of the WTC site.â€ He ruled out any delays in the current schedule; the Memorial is set to be completed in 2010.
High Risk Construction Site Inspections to Improve
April 24 â€“ The NYC Buildings Department has instituted a $4 million dollar plan to inspect â€˜high riskâ€™ construction sites and develop new procedures to make construction safer. Acting Buildings Commissioner Robert D. LiMandri said 20 engineers would check excavation work, crane operations and high-rise concrete operations and also review current inspection procedures to pinpoint areas of improvement.
State Assembly Committee Questions NYC Buildings Commissioner
April 25 â€“ Acting NYC Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri was grilled for more than two hours Thursday by a State Assembly committee. LiMandri promised a top-to-bottom evaluation of how the agency operates. He also expressed remorse for a string of construction accidents this year that have killed 13 people.
Costs of New PATH Station Rising
April 25 â€“ Port Authority chief Anthony Coscia admitted on Thursday that the cost of the Calatrava Transit Hub at the WTC has mushroomed to more than $3 billion, $700 million more than the agency had budgeted. At the agencyâ€™s monthly board meeting, Coscia said, â€œWe remain committed to retaining the cost of the project as much as possible.â€ He added the transit hub is vital to the future of Lower Manhattan.
New Building Permits Down
April 25 â€“ The Cityâ€™s building boom may be coming to an end. According to a report in The New York Sun, the number of building permits filed in the city is about half of what it was for the same period last year. According to the US Census Bureau, Manhattan saw a 69% drop in the number of building permits for apartment building compared with the first quarter of â€™07. Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of NY said, â€œThe building permit slowdown is a big number. Itâ€™s clearly going to have an effect on the city.â€