June 16th - June 22nd, 2006
Deconstruction of Deutsche Bank Building, Fiterman Hall to Continue
Friday, June 16th: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's revised plan for inspecting the former Deutsche Bank building was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, the New York Times reported. The new plan includes searching the ballast, air intakes, and mechanical equipment under the observation of the Fire Department, an archaeologist, and the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the paper continued. For more on environmental cleanup stemming from 9/11, click here.
Non-Visible Work at Ground Zero Making Great Headway
Friday, June 16th: While memorial design revisions and insurance negotiations take place, work has been ramping up at the World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported. According to the Times, at least 100 workers a day are on the job, a number that is expected to increase exponentially as construction projects on the site gear up. "The early-stage work is among the most complex and difficult," Anthony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told the paper. "Once it picks up, the momentum moves pretty quickly." The current construction projects include creating the subterranean structure of footings, foundations, steel columns, and concrete walls, the Times continued.
The first aboveground structure, a temporary PATH terminal passenger entrance pavilion on Vesey Street, is expected to be complete by fall 2007, and the permanent structure designed by Santiago Calatrava is set to open in 2009, the Times reported. Amazingly, much of the work being done is very quiet, including the blasting performed on Monday and Wednesday and the torching of the framework of a truck ramp that served the World Trade Center, the paper added. "What's being done isn't visible from the street, but it's very necessary in moving this forward quietly," Port Authority Executive Director Ken Ringler Jr. told the paper. "Even the blasting is quiet," he added.
Rescue Workers Rally for More Funding
Saturday, June 17th: Ground zero workers and lawmakers urged President George W. Bush to send ailing 9/11 rescue worker more aid, the Associated Press reported. Hundreds of people, including U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Vito Fossella, rallied at the World Trade Center site, the AP continued, and several New York lawmakers have sent a letter to the president asking for more government aid for those sickened by exposure to dust at ground zero, the newswire continued.
According to the New York Times, more than 200 people spent two hours at the World Trade Center site, and almost two dozen people addressed the crowd. City officials have had a difficult time determining when and how to pay benefits, the Times continued. According to the paper, more than $100 million has been set aside for the purpose of screening and treating rescue workers, but some, including Maloney, do not feel the funding is sufficient.
Bloomberg Asks Insurers to Pay Up
Saturday, June 17th: Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on the six insurers of the World Trade Center to "do the right thing" and pay the $1.5 billion they owe Larry Silverstein in order to allow the rebuilding to commence, the New York Times reported. Some of the insurers are balking at the new plan, which cedes some of the rebuilding control and monies to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the paper continued. During his weekly radio address Bloomberg told listeners, "They're not going to get away with not paying," the Times reported.
According to the Times, the new agreement leaves Silverstein to build three of the towers and surrender control of the Freedom Tower and one other tower on the site to the Port Authority. The chairman of the Port Authority recently warned a group of business leaders that the fate of the Freedom Tower is still in jeopardy and insisted on a solid financial plan before construction commences on the 2.6-million-square-foot tower, the paper continued. Bloomberg sent a letter to the insurers saying, "It makes no sense for any insurer to say that both the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein cannot rebuild the site and use the insurance proceeds to do so," the Times added.
Sciame Report on WTC Memorial Unveiled
Tuesday, June 20th: After weeks of speculation, a revised plan for the World Trade Center Memorial was released on Tuesday, June 20th. The new arrangement keeps the memorial in line with the original "Reflecting Absence" design while bringing the cost down to within the established $500 million budget. The new design is not expected to delay the memorial's scheduled September 11, 2009, opening. The design has now entered a seven-day public comment period. For more on this story, click here.
Tenants Begin to Fill 7 WTC
Tuesday, June 20th: Silverstein Properties has secured a major tenant for 7 World Trade Center, the first building to be completed after September 11, 2001, the New York Times reported. Financial ratings agency Moody's Investors Service signed a letter of intent to lease 15 floors of the new tower, the paper continued. Unlike other developers, who often secure an anchor tenant before beginning construction, Larry Silverstein completed construction without that guarantee, the Times added.
According to the Times, Silverstein has now secured tenants for 23 of the tower's 52 floors. Although rents in 7 WTC are among the highest downtown, they still represent a significant savings -- of as much as 30 percent -- over skyrocketing midtown leases. In total, Moody's is leasing 600,000 square feet and will gain a more modern headquarters, tax breaks, rent rebates, and other city and state incentives, the paper added.