November 10th - November 14th, 2008
New Tunnel to Connect NYC to NJ
November 12 – The ARC tunnel, the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel between Manhattan and New Jersey, has won approval from federal environmental regulators. A report in AM NY says $5.7 billion has been committed to the tunnel from NY and NJ; both states are asking the federal government to kick in $3 billion. The tunnel would be comprised of two tracks and is expected to double train capacity between the City and NJ.
Arbitrator to Settle Dispute
November 13 – The Port Authority and developer Larry Silverstein have turned to arbitration to settle their acrimonious multi-million dollar dispute over a retaining wall on the WTC site. The Port Authority turned over a parcel of land to Silverstein in October, but Silverstein claims the land is not ‘construction ready’ because a 400 foot long wall is still on the footprint where he needs to build. The PA claims the wall doesn’t sit within the footprint. A three member panel will hold three days of hearings beginning November 24 to resolve the issue by early December.
130 Liberty Fire Indictments Expected Soon
November 14 – It will take a few more weeks before indictments are handed down in the investigation of last year’s fatal fire at the Deutsche Bank building. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told The Daily News, “It is extremely complex. So many different people are involved and we’ve subpoenaed 3 million documents.” Prosecutors have been trying to determine who is to blame for the deaths of two firefighters.
Fiterman Hall Funding Resolved
November 14 – Fiterman Hall is a step closer to being deconstructed, now that the City has agreed to put $139 million toward the $325 million cost. The announcement came after a protracted dispute between CUNY and state officials. The state is contributing $98 million and the rest will be paid for by insurance companies, the LMDC and the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. Several published reports say the new 390,000 square foot building is expected to open in the spring of 2012 and house Borough of Manhattan Community college classrooms as well as retail space.
Construction Safety Improvements Needed
November 14 – OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, has announced several recommendations due to the recent jump in construction fatalities. According to New York Construction News, OSHA is urging construction managers to make sure safety harnesses are worn by construction workers and that they are rigged properly. OSHA also identified situations where engineering controls would have been feasible, but found they weren’t used. The agency also found in reference to crane safety that operators rely heavily on load moment indicators instead of following a load chart.
Mayor Signs Safety Bill
November 14 – Mayor Bloomberg signed several bills to protect construction workers. One requires buildings that are at risk of being structurally compromised to undergo periodic inspections. Permits won’t be issued until the inspection is complete. Another bill signed by the Mayor imposes fines of $1,000 if sites don’t properly secure materials on the upper floors of a building. The third piece of new legislation requires inspections every five years for retaining walls ten feet or higher that front public streets. If they’re found to be unsafe, they must be replaced immediately and inspected by the City’s Department of Buildings.
No School Needed at South Street Seaport
November 14 – The new South Street Seaport won’t be home to a new school. The City’s Department of Education turned down an offer from General Growth Properties to incorporate a school into its redevelopment plans. The DownTown Express says the City determined there’s no need for a new school in the Seaport area. At the same time, the City said the Financial District does need another school. Parents and education activists say the City should reconsider General Growth’s offer because they feel schools downtown are overcrowded.
Battery Maritime Building Quiet on Funding
November 14 – Because of the financial turmoil in the City and the country, developers of the Battery Maritime Building are mum on whether they will be able to move ahead. The Downtown Express says Dermot Company said it would seek private financing in early 2009 and hopes to finish the project in 2011, but had no comment to questions last week about the project.
Retail Rents Fell Last Year
November 14 – The latest report from the Real Estate Board of New York shows retail rents in Lower Manhattan fell between 14 and 16% in the last year. However, the report also points out that rents in Tribeca, specifically on Hudson Street, jumped 60 percent from a year ago.
PA to Add Signage to WTC Site Perimeter
November 14 – Within the next month, expect to see an attempt to dress up the construction sites at the WTC. The Port Authority plans to add lighting, directional signage and artwork around the site, according to The Downtown Express. The PA will also put images of what the WTC site will look like on the fence around the site.