January 25th - January 29th, 2010
Deutsche bank Prosecutor Steps Down
January 25 – Assistant District Attorney Patrick Dugan, who ran in the investigation into the 2007 fatal fire at the Deutsche bank building is stepping down next month, according to The New York Post. The paper claims his departure will hamper the case, but a spokesperson for the newly elected District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the case is still a priority for the office. Several construction supervisors at Bovis Lend Lease and John Galt Corporation are facing manslaughter charges.
Memorial Waterfalls is Tested
January 25 – A mock-up of architect Michael Arad’s “Reflecting Absence” is being tested in Brooklyn, with the waterfall flowing 30 feet down into a pool, so builders can see the flow and angle of the water to fine tune it for the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero. The test run will take place for three weeks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard; the 30 foot waterfall will eventually cascade down the sides of the footprints of the twin towers, forming reflecting pools lined by the victims’ names.
Construction Worker Survives Fall
January 25 – Last Thursday afternoon, a roofing worker on the Liberty Luxe condo in Battery Park City fell 22 feet from a ledge, but he still managed to call 911 on his cell phone. The Battery Park City Broadsheet Daily reports the worker landed in the complex’s backwater tank, which was empty. The worker was reported to be in stable condition at St. Vincent’s hospital after the accident.
Menin Will Return for Another CB1 Election
January 25 – Menin said she changed her mind about stepping down from the board because many board members urged her to stay on. A month ago, Menin said she could not handle the responsibility of staying on as Chair and hosting a TV talk show. But according to The Tribeca Trib, Board member Roger Byrom said there are too many projects in the works and one more term would help the Board drive the projects to completion.
Winds Cause Havoc at Beekman Tower
January 26 – Numerous streets in Lower Manhattan were shutdown yesterday after winds, gusting up to 50 mph, blew safety netting and wood off the 72 story building under construction on Spring Street. No one was injured, but several nearby windows were shattered and Pace University cancelled all classes. The Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a full stop work order to inspect the property, according to Curbed.com. From Gold Street to Church Street and Ann Street to Chambers Street, streets were closed until around midnight. One square block around Sprint Street remained shutdown.
CB 1 Requests Trials Moved North
January 26 – Julie Menin, Chair of CB 1, told The New York Post, she’s asking the Obama administration to determine if it is feasible to hold the trials at West Point, the National Guard air base at Stewart Airport, the federal prison in Otisville, Orange County or the federal courthouse in White Plains. CB 1 has also suggested Governors Island, but the idea was dismissed by the Mayor and NYPD. The Community Board feels Lower Manhattan would be severely inconvenienced if the trials were to take place here.
Artists and Architects Invited to Submit Ideas
January 26 – Governors Island is inviting artists and architects to submit their ideas for an architectural pavilion on the Island this summer. The competition is part of Figment, an arts program that is marking its fourth year on the island. The Pavilion will be a gathering place for people to enjoy a performance or lecture and experience artwork. The deadline for submission is two weeks from now.
Arbitrators Rule in Favor of Port Authority
January 27 – The arbitration panel ruled that the Port Authority won’t have to pay the developer approximately $3.5 billion in damages and $788 million in rent relief. Silverstein claimed his ability to finance three towers at the WTC site was hindered because the PA failed to meet several construction deadlines. In a 22 page document, the panel also decided Silverstein will not have to forfeit the three towers if they’re not completed by 2014. The arbiters found that SPI had not proven that ‘any action or inaction’ by the Port had ‘actually delayed or damaged ‘the developer in constructing the three towers. The three person panel gave both sides 45 days to come up with a schedule to complete the towers or risk having the panel impose a solution, according to Crain’s . The Daily News reports new timetables and funding schemes could also mean new delays at the site.
Politicians Want Terrorist Trial Moved
January 28 – The Mayor is now speaking out against plans by the Obama administration to hold the trials in Lower Manhattan. “It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people. The suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one,” said the Mayor. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also said they are open to moving the trial out of Manhattan and they are receptive to the alternate sites suggested by CB 1. The Alliance for Downtown also issued a statement opposing the terror trials saying, “Downtown already copes with a permanent police checkpoint on Broadway and security-based closures elsewhere.”
Terrorist Trials in NYC Reconsidered
January 29 – Reacting to the outcry against the idea, the President has ordered the Justice Department to consider options to move the trial. The move comes a day after the Mayor, Governor and several elected officials spoke out against the plan. Congressman Peter King has put forth a resolution to stop federal funding of a trial and support bringing the case before a military tribunal. City officials have estimated the cost of a trial could be $200 million a year and the trial would make NYC an even more attractive terrorist target.
Work on Pier A May Restart
January 29 – The Battery Park City Authority ok’d $11.1 million to redevelop the three-story landmark pier, according to The Downtown Express. Core and shell work will begin on the Pier as soon as underwater repairs are finished in April. The Authority is currently seeking tenants for the Pier, including possibly a restaurant or catering hall.
Stalled Construction Sites Decline
January 29 – The Department of Buildings reports there are 515 inactive construction sites as of December 1, 2009; that’s down from 531 earlier in the year. The Real Deal says the latest stats are an indication that some of the stalled sites saw a restart of construction. Most of the stalled sties are residential developments in Brooklyn with 237. Queens followed with 140, Manhattan had 80, Staten Island 34 and the Bronx had 24 stalled sites.
Downtown Condo Prices Rise
January 29 – The median price of a co-op in Lower Manhattan dropped about 13% in the fourth quarter, while the price of a condos jumped about 12%, according to The Downtown Express. The Corcoran Group report says co-op prices are averaging about $564,000 while condo prices are around $1.25 million.