April 20th - April 24th, 2009
4 WTC Financing Debated
April 20 – In an editorial, The Daily News is calling on the Port Authority to withdraw its offer to Larry Silverstein to help him build Tower 4. The paper also called on Governors Paterson and Corzine and Mayor Bloomberg to redraw plans for Ground Zero. The Daily News cites the recession and the lack of financing and tenants for the tower as reasons why the five towers planned for the site should not be built.
Mayor Summoned to Help at WTC
April 20 – An editorial in The New York Post is urging Mayor Bloomberg to get more involved in the rebuilding at Ground Zero. The editorial states, “without his immediate and decisive intervention, prospects for rebuilding will only grow bleaker.”
Major Downtown Firm May Vacate WFC Office
April 22 – Deloitte, the giant accounting firm, is apparently shopping for office space and may leave Two World Financial Center (WFC), according to The New York Observer. The report says the firm needs up to 800,000 square feet and proposals have gone out throughout the city and New Jersey. Deloitte is currently leasing 434,000 square feet at Two WFC in a lease that expires in 2013. The paper speculates Deloitte could fill some of the space that Merrill Lynch is likely to vacate at Two WFC.
Deputy Mayor Says City Construction Jobs Are Safe
April 22 – Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, speaking last week at a New York Building Congress breakfast, insisted the city’s plan to reduce the capital budget by 30 percent won’t cost construction workers their jobs. Real Estate Weekly reported that Lieber said the capital budget takes years to allocate to projects so reductions wouldn’t be felt during the recession. Marissa Lago, president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation told attendees, “Any conversation about jobs in the construction industry has to start with the federal stimulus package.”
Mayor Launches Green Building Retrofitting Program
April 22 – On Earth Day, Mayor Bloomberg outlined a package of initiatives designed to reduce energy consumption in the city by requiring building owners to make ‘green’ upgrades in older buildings. The plan could create 2,000 new green jobs, as well at thousands of temporary construction jobs, according to The New York Times. The program begins in 2013 and improvements to a building would be mandatory if energy audits show the owner could recoup the cost of the improvements within five years. Building owners and managers are critical of the program and plan to mount a strong opposition.
LMCC Applauds Firms Who Offer Artist-Studio Space
April 23 – The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) honored five real estate partners for temporarily lending empty space downtown to artists. Real Estate Weekly reports the free studios for visual artists, writers, dancers, actors and musicians helps keep artists in Lower Manhattan. One honoree is Capstone Equities, which donated 22,000 square feet at 14 Wall Street. The LMCC transformed the space into five studios giving more than 350 artists rehearsal space.
Requests Made to Reopen 9-11 Victims Fund
April 23 – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman Peter King are continuing their quest to convince congress to reopen the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. Both testified yesterday that the cost of the program is high, but the country owes a moral obligation to the thousands who responded and became sick after the fund closed in 2005. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand are working on similar legislation in the senate.
130 Liberty Standpipe History in Question
April 24 – Questions are being raised about when the standpipe was severed in the 130 Liberty Street building fire, leading to the deaths of two firefighters. Several published reports say electricians working in the building told prosecutors the pipe was not cut when they finished their work in December 2006. Prosecutors still believe the standpipe was severed in fall 2006 when the John Galt Corporation was on the job. Two employees form John Galt and one from contractor Bovis are facing manslaughter charges in connection with the deadly fire. The statements could help the defense lawyers.
Abatement Resumes at Deutsche Bank Building
April 24 – Abatement work on the 130 Liberty Street building resumed this week, according to The Downtown Express. The LMDC said the stop-work order, imposed April 2nd after an electrical fire, has been lifted. The fire caused a three-week delay; the LMDC said it will issue a new schedule for abating and demolishing the building. Deconstruction may begin in the middle of June.
Port Authority Revises WTC Transit Hub Plan
April 24 – Phoenix Constructors, the company hired to build Santiago Calatrava’s WTC Transportation Hub, has been removed from the project by the Port Authority, according to The Daily News. The story says the PA will take over the project itself and will open up all future construction work to competitive bidding.
Senator Calls for Federal Stimulus Funds for WTC
April 24 – Senator Martin Golden is calling on President Obama to provide funding for the construction of all three WTC east-side buildings. Golden believes the money should come from the economic stimulus package, according to a report in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Golden says by appropriating this money, “Obama will be sending a statement to New York, the nation and world by providing the economic stimulus needed to build the three Freedom Towers in lower Manhattan.”