January 19th - January 25th, 2007
Fate of Survivors Staircase Unknown
Friday, January 19th: At a recent, closed-door meeting, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) proposed disassembling the survivors' staircase, the only above-ground architectural remnant from the World Trade Center complex, while salvaging the surface of the two flights of stairs and the remaining plaza paving, the New York Times reported. A comment period on this recommendation will run through February 12th. Community Board 1 passed a resolution stating that it "does not believe that it is necessary for the Vesey Street stair remnant to remain in place or that its symbolic and historical value is ultimately site specific," the Times continued.
According to the Times, at issue is the plan for Tower 2, whose lobby would cover most of the site currently occupied by the staircase. To allow for excavation and construction of the skyscraper, the staircase must be moved. The LMDC's proposed plan calls for six to nine granite stair treads to be installed in the steps leading to the lobby of Tower 2 and for the outline of the entire staircase to be marked with metal channels both in and outside the tower's lobby, the Times added.
In addition, the bottom-most tread from the staircase may be set into the World Trade Center Memorial, Alice Greenwald, executive vice president of the WTC Memorial Foundation, told the Times. "LMDC will make the decision but will not do that until after they have reviewed the public comments," Christine Anderson, press secretary to Governor Eliot Spitzer, stressed to the Times.
Brooklyn Bridge to Serve as the Set of New Will Smith Film
Monday, January 22nd: For the remaining January weekdays, the area surrounding the Brooklyn Bridge will serve as the set of a new Warner Bros. movie, "I Am Legend," Newsday reported. The film, in which actor Will Smith stars, will include more than 1,000 extras, Army personnel,Coast Guard helicopters, and police and military vehicles, the paper continued. According to Newsday, drivers may encounter delays during the evening commute as a result of rubbernecking.
Wall Street Building Under Contract to Cushman &Wakefield
Monday, January 22nd: Developer Cushman & Wakefield has entered into a $325 million contract to purchase the Banker's Trust building at 14 Wall Street for use as office space, the New York Post reported. The 1-million-square-foot building was purchased in 2005 for $215 million by a venture of Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel Investments and Shaya Boymelgreen, which planned to convert it for residential use, the Post continued. Since then, the conversion market has slowed and the demand for downtown office space has risen. Lower Manhattan commercial office currently commands between $40 and $50 per square foot, the Post reported. "It's always encouraging that investment is being made in an important office building in Lower Manhattan," Eric Deutsch, president of the Downtown Alliance, told the paper. "The space will be retained for commercial office use at the historic corner of Wall and Broad," he continued.
Angry Family Members Publicly Protest Memorial Feature
Tuesday, January 23rd: A group of September 11th family members are launching a national ad campaign in protest of the way victims' names will be displayed at the World Trade Center Memorial, the Associated Press reported. Initially, the WTC Memorial Foundation, the non-profit organization in charge of raising money to build the WTC Memorial, planned to list victims' names in random order, the AP continued. However, after protests from victims' family members, the Memorial Foundation last month decided to group the names according to where the victims worked or died, the AP added.
According to the AP, the compromise did not satisfy some victims' family members, who, in addition to wanting the victims' names to be grouped also want the memorial to list the companies they worked for, their ages, the trade center floor they worked on, and the ranks of those who were fire and police officials.
Port Authority and Silverstein Fear Insurance Takeover
Wednesday, January 24th: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein are challenging a proposed takeover of Delaware-based insurer Royal Indemnity Co. because the insurer still owes $250 million as part of its coverage of the World Trade Center, the Daily News reported. The developers fear that once the British parent company sells off Royal Indemnity Co. the insurer will not have sufficient resources to pay what it owes, the Daily News continued.
According to the paper, Senator Hillary Clinton recently wrote that without the cash "efforts to redevelop Ground Zero will be seriously impeded." Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer joined Clinton in opposing the deal, the Daily News reported. In response, John Tighe, president of Arrowpoint Capital Corp., Royal Indemnity Co.'s proposed new manager, said at a recent hearing, "We ... believe it will provide additional financial support to allow the companies to meet their obligations, even in the face of potential adversity," the Daily News added.
East Bathtub Construction Begins
Wednesday, January 24th: The first of 63 70-foot-long steel cages that will reinforce the slurry wall at the World Trade Center site was lowered into place this week, the New York Times reported. The slurry wall will create the east bathtub of the site. Its construction will involve digging a trench, filling the trench with slurry (a mixture of water and bentonite clay), dropping the steel cages into the slurry, and then displacing the slurry with concrete, the Times continued. This process will be repeated for each of the 63 panels, and the slurry will be reused each time, the Times added.