April 16th - April 22nd, 2004
Developers Ready to Break Ground in Tribeca
Friday, April 16: Investment banking firm Samuel A. Ramirez and Company was granted final approval by the city to build a nine-story building on Tribeca's historic Greenwich Street. The location will serve as the firm's corporate headquarters, with the top two floors reserved as luxury apartments for the bank's founder and president, Samuel Ramirez, the New York Times revealed.
While rules regarding construction in the historic section of Tribeca are strict, the Landmarks Preservation Committee ultimately praised architect Morris Adjmi's design for the new building, saying the structure "would enhance the special architectural character of the district," according to the Times.
Scheduled to be completed next summer, the building will be located at 408 Greenwich Street. Samuel Ramirez Jr., an executive vice president at the bank and the founder's son, told the Times that construction costs are expected to be between $17 and $20 million.
Plan to Rebuild Chinatown Unveiled
Friday, April 16: Asian Americans for Equality unveiled its $500 million plan to improve Chinatown by providing affordable housing, waterfront parks, cleaner streets, and a plan for a "Pacific Rim" office center to house a hotel and Hong Kong department store, the Daily News reported.
The plan is part of the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative and aims to improve residential conditions in the neighborhood as well as increase tourism.
Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality, also announced that the organization has called upon the LMDC to contribute $80 billion to the renewal project, the News reported.
Gehry Proposed as Architect of New Downtown Tower
Monday, April 19: Developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner Companies announced his intention to hire architect Frank Gehry to design a 55-story residential tower downtown, the New York Post reported.
Gehry, who is currently working with Forest City Ratner on the proposed Nets stadium in Brooklyn, is internationally renowned for his designs, which include the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Ratner purchased the property from NYU Downtown Hospital earlier this month, and plans for the proposed building include luxury apartments as well as space for the hospital, retail, and parking. The company is also in negotiations with neighboring Pace University, working toward an agreement that could offer the university one-third of the building's available space, the New York Times reported.
According to the New York City Housing Development Corporation, Forest City Ratner is currently being considered for tax-exempt financing for the proposed residential tower.
LMDC Authorizes Deconstruction of Deutsche Bank Building
Tuesday, April 20: The LMDC awarded the Gilbane Building Company a $45 million contract to dismantle the Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty.
The 40-story office tower, which was severely damaged during the 9/11 attacks, will be carefully deconstructed throughout the year to ensure the safety of downtown residents as well as nearby structures. The bank has already begun removing office equipment and furniture from the structure, which will then be cleaned by contaminant removal crews later this summer, the New York Times reported.
The LMDC, which owns the property and is charged with the building's demolition, announced that the dismantling of the office tower is scheduled for completion in mid-2005, the Times reported.
Bloomingdales Soho Readies for Grand Opening
Tuesday, April 20: After years of planning and preparation, Bloomingdale's will celebrate the opening of its newest store, in Soho, on Saturday, April 24.
Located at 504 Broadway between Spring and Broome Streets, the six-story store occupies a full city block and is the chain's newest edition. The new store will be light and airy compared to Bloomingdale's midtown flagship store at 59th and Lexington, the Times reported. "It will not look like a department store," Bloomingdale's Chairman and CEO Michael Gould told the Times.
The cast-iron-and-stone structure, which is estimated to have cost $30 to $35 million to build, will be one of the neighborhood's only department stores, offering area residents and visitors fashionable selections from designers like Prada, Zac Posen, Jeffrey Chow, Peter Som and Anna Sui, the Times added.
City, LMDC, and Port Authority Work Toward WTC Site Agreement
Tuesday, April 20: In an effort to further the downtown rebuilding process, the Bloomberg administration issued a formal request for a redevelopment agreement to govern the World Trade Center site in a letter to the Port Authority and LMDC, the New York Times reported.
The proposal, put forth by Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff on behalf of the city, seeks to streamline the rebuilding process by resolving issues related to the control of streets, operation of public spaces, and police and emergency services at the WTC site.
The Port Authority and LMDC responded favorably to the city's request, each stressing its willingness to work with the city in order to advance downtown's redevelopment, according to the Times.
City Estimates $2.6 Billion in Unused 9/11 Aid
Tuesday, April 20: According to a recent estimate, New York City has yet to receive $2.6 billion of the more than $5 billion in tax credits offered by the federal government to New York employers and property owners in the downtown Liberty Zone, Newsday reported.
The tax credits are part of a $20 billion aid package provided to the city by the federal government after 9/11. A proposal by the city to exchange the credits for cash has become part of congressional budget negotiations that could be decided by a Senate vote as early as next week, according to Newsday.