June 30th - July 6th, 2012
Port Authority OKs GSA Lease Agreement at 1 WTC
June 29 - The federal government is nearing a deal for 1 World Trade Center, but a lease has not been inked yet, reported Globest.com and other news sources. At a meeting on June 28, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a lease agreement with the US General Services Administration for 270,104 rentable square feet inside the 1,776 square-foot skyscraper. If finalized, the lease would push the 104-story tower to over 50 percent occupied. Previously, Chinese real estate firm Vantone inked a deal for 200,000 square feet at the building, and magazine publisher Conde Nast agreed to anchor the tower, taking over one million square feet on floors 20-44.According to meeting minutes from the Port, the GSA would lease space under a 20-year term with up to four, 15-year renewal options. If the deal goes through, the total aggregate rental over the initial 20-year lease term is estimated at $351.4 million. Based on the current agreement, the GSA and the Port Authority would modify a former contract that arose as far back as 1970.
Goldman Sachs Plays Huge Role in BPC Growth
June 29 - The Lower Manhattan transformation into a 24-hour neighborhood has been widely celebrated over the past year as the World Trade Center complex continues to rise, but according to the New York Times, Goldman Sachs is quietly responsible for much growth in the area. Since opening its $2.1 billion 200 West Street headquarters in 2009, Goldman has played a key role in transforming the surrounding blocks to appeal to the 8,000 employees stationed at the headquarters and the legions of out-of-town employees that come in for business. For example, Goldman bought the nearby Embassy Suites hotel and upgraded it to a Conrad to put up its traveling employees. It contracted two nearby parking lots for idling black car services waiting to service its employee and acquired the lease for the Riverhouse condominium parking garage for employee use. It also set-up improved ferry service between Jersey City and Battery Park City for employees who travel to its offices across the Hudson River. Flower shops, wine stores, eyeglass retailers and other businesses have also been targeted by Goldman and landed near their offices. Goldman also can be thanked for much ofthe culinary upgrades in Battery Park City, with several new high-end eateries.
Cuomo Helps Silverstein 9/11 Lawsuit
July 1 - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration are leaning on airlines and their insurers to settle a long-running lawsuit over the 9/11 attacks with World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, in a bid to help Ground Zero construction, reported the Wall Street Journal. The top insurance regulator for Cuomo, Benjamin Lawsky, recently warned airline insurers that the absence of a settlement has undermined public confidence in the insurance industry and slowed redevelopment of the attack site. The Cuomo administration intervention marks a turn for Mr. Silversteins effort to make the aviation industry compensate him for what he said were reckless security breaches that allowed Islamic hijackers to board airplanes with weapons and gain access to the cockpits. Mr. Silverstein sued American and United in 2004, seeking $12.3 billion in damages. But the developers case has struggled in U.S. District Court. State officials said they are not taking sides with Mr. Silverstein, but are anxious to help development in a Lower Manhattan neighborhood still caught between rebuilding and recession. In theory, a large infusion of insurance money could help him to move forward with 2 and 3 WTC construction, although it would likely take several hundreds of millions of dollars just to start on one of them.
Mayor Rejects 9/11 Proposal
July 2 - Mayor Michael Bloomberg has rejected Port Authority efforts to have a greater say over the 9/11 memorial, reported the Associated Press. The mayor said this week control should remain with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum foundation to keep the site out of the political process. The mayor chairs the foundation. The Port Authority, controlled by the governors of New York and New Jersey, owns the trade center site. The two sides have been feuding since last year, stalling the 9/11 museum completion. The spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told theWall Street Journalthe museum should not be politicized. But he added that the mayor and the governors are political officials. A spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said no one was interested in politicizing anything.
Group Blasts Barricades Around Iconic NYC Statue
July 2 - The barricades around the iconic Charging Bull statue in the Financial District are not just ugly -- they are also pushing tourists dangerously into traffic, community advocates charge. According to the NY Post and other news outlets, 40 members of Community Board 1 passed a unanimous resolution last week against the metal gates, arguing they put pedestrians and motorists in harms way. A day later, a bicyclist was struck by a private bus at the intersection, on Broadway at Morris Street, authorities said. He was treated at New York Downtown Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The NYPD angered tourists and locals by placing the barriers around the bronze bovine last September amid concerns for his safety during Occupy Wall Street protests. The barriers were also put around much of the north plaza at Bowling Green Park. Cars, trucks and buses frequently honk at tourists who spill into the streets. Patrice Broussard, of Biloxi, Miss., visited with her family last week and said she was nearly hit by a car while waiting outside the barricades for a chance to get a photo of the statue. Community advocates say the increased foot traffic in the street creates a dangerous situation, particularly with the spike in visitors in the summer. A spokesman for the Department of Transportation said it was working to create additional pedestrian space around Battery Park and Bowling Green, including near the bull.
JPMorgan Chase Content to Keep Public Off Their Public Plaza
July 4 - For months, people walking past Chase Manhattan Plaza in Lower Manhattan have gazed upon an empty two-acre expanse surrounded by fences and patrolled by private security guards. Although the plaza, located a block from the New York Stock Exchange, has been open to the public for decades, tall accordion-style fencing anchored with sandbags was placed around the area in mid-September. The plaza owner, JPMorgan Chase, did not issue a statement about closing the site, but some wondered if the decision was prompted by theOccupy Wall Streetprotests. Organizers had announced plans to hold a meeting in the plaza on Sept. 17, on the first day of the movement, which eventually attracted worldwide attention. Since then, even as the Occupy protests have trailed off, the fences have remained, and have drawn the attention of critics. Over the past six months, supporters of open and accessible public space have accused the bank of keeping people out of the plaza without justification. After contractors obtained a permit to put up sturdier fences as part of a renovation plan, one man sued theNew York City Department of Buildingsover a refusal to disclose the plans. The suit also challenged an assertion by the city that the plans should remain secret because the plaza and the tower next to it are potential terrorism targets. The legal battle has added to a debate about whether a powerful institution that traces its roots to historic Lower Manhattan put up a fence as part of an effort to forestall criticism of the financial system, then pointed to security concerns to limit speech faulting its actions. Michael F. Fusco, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, declined to comment on any complaints or inquiries about the bank actions. He also declined to explain why the fencing was erected in September. Paula Z. Segal, the lawyer who drafted the lawsuit against the Buildings Department, said security guards at Chase Plaza had told her on several occasions that the fencing was meant to keep protesters from assembling there.