October 1st - October 7th, 2004
Liberty Bond Program Extended Through 2009
Monday, October 4: President George W. Bush signed a bill that will extend the September 11th Liberty Bond program -- a federal assistance initiative created by Congress to provide low-cost, tax-exempt bond financing for major revitalization projects in Lower Manhattan and throughout New York City -- through 2009, Newsday reported.
Originally set to expire at the end of the year, the $8 billion Liberty Bond program was approved after the 9/11 attacks but has yet to be fully distributed. In order to allocate the remaining funds, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among other elected officials throughout the state, requested the five-year extension, Newsday said.
The extended program, which was part of the federal middle-income tax cut package, will cost an additional $400 million, the paper added.
Downtown Office Demands Rise amid Growing City Economy
Tuesday, October 4: According to a new study conducted by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Manhattan's average office vacancy rate dropped from 11.8 percent last quarter to 11.4 percent this quarter. Lower Manhattan showed significant improvement with a reported 12.7 percent vacancy rate -- its lowest in more than a year, Dow Jones reported.
The news comes on the heels of an economic analysis reported in the New York Times that says New York City's job growth has outpaced the nation's, signaling a recovery from the 9/11 attacks, the paper added.
In addition to job growth, the city's tourism industry witnessed a surge, rebounding to pre-9/11 levels. The overall real estate industry in Manhattan also increased with significant growth downtown, the Times said.
"We are encouraged by the strength of the city's economy in the first half of the year," stated First Deputy Comptroller Adam M. Blumenthal to the Times. However, several indicators -- including the dip in Wall Street profits and inflation rates -- may signal a future drop in economic performance, the paper added.
Commemorative Subway Station to Be Built at City Hall
Tuesday, October 5: As part of the city's 100th anniversary celebration of the subway system, transit officials began building a temporary subway entrance to the original City Hall station located on City Hall Plaza's west side, the Daily News reported.
Formerly called the "Loop Station," the subway station's temporary entrance will be used by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials before being deconstructed at the celebration's close later this month, the News said.
On October 27, 1904, Mayor George McClellan officially launched the city's first subway train. The Interborough Rapid Transit Subway (IRT), as it was formerly called, ran from City Hall to 145th St. and Broadway, the paper added.
Silverstein, Libeskind Reach Settlement in Freedom Tower Fee Dispute
Wednesday, October 6: After months of negotiations, World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein agreed to pay WTC master planner Daniel Libeskind a $370,000 "genius fee" for his creativity in designing the Freedom Tower, the Associated Press and New York Post reported.
As part of the settlement between the two parties, Libeskind will withdraw a lawsuit filed last July in a Manhattan Supreme Court that claimed Silverstein owed the architect $843,750 in creative services, AP said. Silverstein, who has spent much of the last year in court battling insurance claims, argued that Libeskind had failed to produce time sheets for the project that would justify the $843,750 payment.
Both sides stated that they were pleased with the overall settlement, which was reached with the aid of a court-appointed third-party mediator, the Post added.
House Rejects Funding Plan for Downtown-Kennedy Airport Rail Link
Thursday, October 7: Despite endorsement from President George W. Bush in August, plans for the proposed rail link between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy Airport hit a serious obstacle when the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposal to convert the unused federal tax credits from New York City's 9/11 aid package into $2 billion to fund the rail link, Newsday reported.
Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and several rebuilding officials were reportedly surprised at the House's decision to block the measure. According to sources close to the talks, the initiative received support from the U.S. Senate, the paper said.
"While we're disappointed that the amendment hasn't made it through this hurdle, we are very hopeful that the proposal will be approved by Congress before they adjourn," Lynn Rasic, Pataki's New York City Press Secretary told Newsday.
The rail link is part of the city's plan to expand the downtown transportation network.