February 14th - February 18th, 2011
Greek Orthodox Church sues the Port Authority
February 14 – The church says the PANJ broke a 2008 promise to rebuild the St. Nicholas Church at a new location down the block from its old site. It also says the Port Authority has started excavating church property without permission as part of the new business and transportation complex at Ground Zero. Reuters reports the PA offered $20 million of financing, plus as much as $40 million to cover extra costs related to the construction of a Port Authority parking lot under the church. It claims the church wanted a building six times bigger than its original one.
Hampton Inn Plans Downtown Location
February 15 – Hotelier Sam Chang plans to construct a seven-story Hampton Inn at 32 Pearl St., according to Crain’s New York Business. Construction will start next month and opening is slated for late 2011. The 80-room hotel project had been on hold for at least two years because of the economic downturn, said Ashish Parikh, chief financial officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust. Since 2001, the number of hotels south of Chambers Street has more than tripled to 18.
9-11 Memorial Ticketing System Under Development
February 15 –. Access to the Sept. 11 memorial will be limited when it opens this fall, according to Joe Daniels, the president of the memorial foundation. The New York Times reports the memorial will be surrounded by construction and visitors will be able to use only one entrance. Plans call for a limit of 1,500 visitors at a time, with special consideration given to relatives of Sept. 11 victims. Visitors will have to sign up online for tickets.
NYC receives $41 Million Boost in Anti-Terrorism Funds
February 15 – The New York Post reported the Obama administration increased homeland security funding for the City, thanks to efforts by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Cong. Peter King. The funds will be used for a system of detectors encircling the city to monitor for nuclear weapons and dirty bombs, police surveillance cameras in lower Manhattan and Midtown and transit security.
CB1 Calls for Closure of LMDC
February 16 – Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1 and an LMDC board member wants the agency to develop a sunset plan immediately, with plans to close by 9/11/11, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. DNAINFO.com reports LMDC has almost completed its two major projects — demolishing the Deutsche Bank building and distributing $2.8 billion in federal 9/11 recovery funds — so it should not continue to exist, said Menin. CB1's World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee unanimously passed a resolution Monday night calling for the city-state agency's closure.
Brookfield Properties Focuses on Lower Manhattan
February 16 – Dennis Friedrich, president and CEO of Brookfield Office Properties’ US commercial operations, told the Real Estate Lenders Association, more than two-thirds of Brookfield’s 18.4-million-square-foot office portfolio in the NY area is Downtown, and Friedrich said “all of the things that are going to transform Lower Manhattan” would “lock into place” within the next few years. The towers at Ground Zero all represent “stock that New York City needs,” Friedrich said. He noted approvingly that the towers will come on line “in staggered fashion” rather than hitting the market all at once. A few blocks west of the WTC site, BOP intends to redevelop its eight-million-square-foot, four-building World Financial Center complex, and Friedrich said the company expects to announce plans very soon.
New York Stock Exchange Will Remain at 11 Wall Street
February 16 – GlobeSt.com reported NYSE Euronext and Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse will base their merged operation at the iconic 11 Wall Street, one of two global offices for what will be the world’s largest exchange group. The merger would create a 17-member board; the name of the new company has yet to be decided on.
Trial Set for a Crane Company
February 16 – A Manhattan judge has upheld the manslaughter indictment against crane-company owner James Frank Lomma. The New York Post says Lomma will face trial later this year on charges he recklessly caused a fatal 2008 collapse by putting a cheaply refurbished crane in service on East 91st Street. The collapse killed two workers.
Plan for 9/11 Tour Buses Under Consideration
February 16 – The City is still trying to determine how to accommodate all the buses carrying visitors to the September 11 Memorial for the tenth anniversary later this year. The Tribeca Trib reports at a recent CB1 meeting, officials could say only that they were considering several possible drop-off and layover locations, and that they were “working on” placing way-finding signs and doing outreach to tour promoters. Potential drop locations for busses could be set up anywhere east or south of the World Trade Center site, between Barclay and Albany Street and from Broadway to the West Side Highway.
Downtown Still Sees Higher Vacancy Rates
February 17 - Perks such as free rent and building allowances remain generous downtown, where the availability rate is now higher than midtown's. A report in Crain’s New York Business says the vacancy rate downtown was 13.0% at the end of 2010, up from 11.4% a year earlier. By contrast, the year-end midtown availability rate was 11.6%, down from 14.1%. However, there's evidence that landlords' largesse is diminishing, especially for top-tier buildings in midtown.
New Statue of Liberty Security Plan Being Examined
February 17 – The NYPD told DNAINFO.com moving the security screening from Battery Park to Ellis Island could put the national landmark in jeopardy because people may not be put through metal detectors. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was hoping to unveil the new security procedures during a visit to New York today, but he delayed the announcement because of the concerns, the New York Times reported. An NYPD spokesman told the Times that the NYPD "would want an opportunity to examine the ramifications before there is any change in the existing protocol."
New Tribute WTC Center Exhibit Focuses on Personal Items
February 18 – There are 22 items in the exhibit, all salvaged after 9-11, according to DNAINFO.com. They include a cup and saucer from Windows on the World, a pair of men's dress shoes that a Port Authority worker was wearing when he was evacuated and the ID card of a Cantor Fitzgerald employee who was killed. One of the most powerful pieces is a tree collage made with scraps of the singed paper that floated over to Brooklyn after the attack. All of the items have emotional descriptions from the people who donated them. The new exhibit is called "Memories & Meanings: Objects Speak" and it runs through the fall of this year.