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Old February 10th, 2007, 12:48 AM   #701
Don Omar
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A Look Ahead at 2007 Construction Milestones
January 22, 2007
lowermanhattan.info



Over the next five years, approximately $22 billion in public and private construction projects will be in full swing south of Canal Street. In fact, there are many milestones coming just in the next 12 months that mark rebuilding progress across all of Lower Manhattan's neighborhoods. Here are some of the highlights ahead in 2007.

Freedom Tower
The first steel columns were planted at Ground Zero in the final days of 2006, and crews from Tishman Construction have their work cut out for them in 2007. By May 2007, all 27 "mega columns" will form the base perimeter of the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower -- on the way to a total of more than 45,000 tons of steel that will shape the landmark structure. Those columns, along with steel rebar and many thousands of cubic yards of concrete, are main factors in making the Freedom Tower one of the world's safest skyscrapers.

By the time 2007 winds down, visitors to the World Trade Center (WTC) will be getting their first glimpse of the tower as it nears street level from its 65-foot-deep bedrock foundation.
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World Trade Center Site
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey crews have been hard at work since fall 2006 building the east bathtub at the WTC's southeast corner. Their progress is critical to the aggressive rebuilding timeline set forth by the state and city to rebuild the site's 16 acres within the next five years.

The plan requires the Port Authority to prepare the bathtub's southern portion -- including excavating, building the permanent slurry walls, and relocating utilities -- by the end of 2007 and the northern portion by the first quarter of 2008. From there, developer Silverstein Properties will take over the east bathtub to begin building World Trade Center Towers Two, Three, and Four. Provided each project stays on schedule, the new towers will open by 2012.

The Port Authority also plans to finish designs for the Vehicular Security Center (VSC) by fall 2007. The VSC will be the security checkpoint for all delivery, service, and other vehicles entering the WTC, as well as the tour-bus parking area. Its entrance is planned for the south side of the site on Liberty Street between West and Greenwich Streets.

WTC Transportation Hub
One of the site's most elaborate projects is the $2.2 billion WTC Transportation Hub. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the hub has been in the early stages of construction since fall 2005. Port Authority crews have been working on infrastructure and PATH track relocation and this spring will open a temporary PATH station entrance just south of its current location. The new entrance will allow workers to dismantle the current station entrance. Then in fall 2007, a second temporary "north" entrance will open on Vesey at Greenwich Street while the permanent station, including the landmark oculus, is built.

Another major element of the transportation hub's construction is the "east-west connector" that will link the hub to the Winter Garden via a pedestrian concourse below West Street. Preliminary work on the connector kicks off this month outside Two World Financial Center. There, crews will begin by raising the grade outside the Winter Garden, relocating utilities, and excavating across West Street for secant wall installation.


WTC Memorial and Museum
At the site's southwest quadrant, crews have worked already for more than nine months on the memorial foundation and will continue through the first quarter of 2007. The contract for the memorial's steel work should be awarded by mid-2007.

Additionally, in late 2006 World Trade Center Memorial Chairman Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that fundraising for the $500 million project reached $200 million and that a design concept for 9/11 victims' names has been finalized. The program will group names of victims randomly according to the location or flight where they perished, with first responders grouped separately according to department, command, and precinct.

West Street Promenade
Beginning in April 2007, New York State Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews will begin the 26-month revamp of West Street (Route 9A). A continuation of "Promenade South," the project extends pedestrian plazas, crossings, and the promenade, and includes several vehicular traffic improvements to West Street between West Thames and Chambers Streets. Upon its 2009 completion, the new design will help accommodate the millions of annual visitors to the WTC site and improve circulation around the memorial plaza.

Fulton Street Transit Center
One of the most active projects now taking place downtown is the Fulton Street Transit Center. Since early 2005, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) crews have daily worked diligently on Broadway, Church Street, Maiden Lane/Cortlandt Street, and Dey Street. Each of those main Lower Manhattan thoroughfares are sites of major improvements for commuters bundled with the transit center project.

On January 22nd, Lower Manhattanites began using the new entrance for the 4/5 northbound Fulton Street station platform (located at Broadway and Maiden Lane). Later, in summer 2007, the new southbound-platform entrance will open. The completion of this work will bring the reopening of Cortlandt Street between Broadway and Church Street.

Also in 2007, deconstruction of buildings on Broadway between Fulton and John Street will begin (except the Corbin Building at the north corner of Broadway and John Street, which will be integrated into the new transit center). Those buildings will be replaced by the main transit center entrance, topped by a steel-and-glass oculus.

Across Broadway at Dey Street, the MTA also will deconstruct the two-story 189 Broadway building in early 2007, before starting construction of a new station entrance at that corner.

South Ferry Subway Terminal
Construction continues at South Ferry, where crews are wrapping up the bulk of their work within Battery Park. By spring 2007 and through the project's completion in late summer 2008, construction will primarily be active inside Peter Minuit Plaza, just outside of Whitehall Ferry Terminal.


Street and Utility Improvements
To keep up with the new construction and conversions taking place from river to river, the city continues its many street-improvement and utility-upgrade projects. After nearly a decade, the Wall Street Area Water Main project will wrap up on its final streets by summer 2007. Similarly, the Engineered Resurfacing project will conclude in early summer, having rebuilt dozens of lane miles south of Canal Street.

However, more street- and utility-improvement projects will begin in 2007, most likely on Peck Slip and on Liberty Street east of William Street. Details about these projects will be posted as they are announced.

Parks and Open Spaces
The coming year will see the completion of the British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square, with an official opening ceremony slated for spring 2007. Also in the Financial District, the city plans more streetscape improvements in the New York Stock Exchange area. Work is tentatively scheduled to begin in the first half of 2007 and will build on security, access, and pedestrian-plaza upgrades put in place over the past three years.


Cavala Park -- newly renamed for its location between Canal, Varick, and Laight Streets -- will undergo a proposed $2.3 million makeover by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. Work may begin as soon as spring 2007, bringing a landscaped lawn, fountain, seating, and trees to the half-acre triangle in north Tribeca.


New and improved parks also are being planned thanks to additional grants from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Work on several of them is likely to begin in 2007, including the East River Waterfront and a new playground at Burling Slip, where work could begin as soon as fall 2007.


In the Civic Center area, the $3 million African Burial Ground Memorial will create a space of solace and remembrance at this historic site, including an interactive memorial that honors the 419 African slaves interred here. It is scheduled to open in spring 2007.

Subway Station Improvements
This May, in its effort to improve rider access, New York City Transit (NYCT) will complete the installation of a new elevator kiosk at the 4/5 Bowling Green subway station. The project includes repaving the cobblestone surrounding the station entrance to smooth the pavement for better wheelchair access.

For the 2/3 Chambers Street station, NYCT recently mobilized crews to install an elevator kiosk at the northwest corner of Hudson and Chambers Streets. The elevator is planned to open in June 2008.

Private Construction
Several private commercial and residential developments are on schedule for completion in 2007, including 1 York Street, 59 John Street, 10-12 Barclay Street, 101 Warren Street (270 Greenwich Street), and Battery Park City's 1 River Terrace. Meanwhile, 2007 also will see major progress on some of downtown's largest private projects, such as the new Goldman Sachs World Headquarters, 15 William Street, and Frank Gehry's Beekman Tower.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 01:20 AM   #702
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The New Downtown
Its the wedge of land defined by the Seaport, the Financial District and everything east of Broadway. In other words, downtown.
Time Out New York / Issue 589: January 11–17, 2007






Down is Up

Of course, you know all about the resurgence of downtown. Since 9/11, you probably feel like you’ve heard nothing but stories about downtown—the Freedom Tower, condo development, the future Fulton Street subway hub. Until now, it’s been mostly a story of potential and promises, but with the first crop of these developments finally ready for occupancy, downtown is poised to be the neighborhood to call your broker about in 2007.

Signs of the district’s new bunnylike real-estate fecundity are everywhere. A casual stroll reveals a staggering two dozen–plus residential projects already in the works. Row houses where fishmongers calculated their daily catches now sport shiny, happy apartments atop glass-fronted cafés, close to parks and a stunning waterfront.

Developers, mad for a piece of the 65 million square feet of interior space below Chambers Street, are converting dozens of office buildings into luxury condos. Some have views of the bike-path-ringed harbor. Others show off cavernous marble bathrooms transformed from carpeted boardrooms. Residents of 71 Broadway have a view straight on to Trinity Church. And everything’s up for grabs. The former Cocoa Exchange—a 14-story Flatiron-style edifice on Wall Street Court—will soon sprout renovated condos, while brand-name architects (Gehry, Fox & Fowle and maybe even Calatrava) are adding their signatures to new structures.

But all the new square footage is just part of the story. The neighborhood amenities, all easy to get to, since nearly every subway stops downtown, have also blossomed. Historic Stone Street is rocking with new cafés and bars that remain open after hours for the crowd that stays late and walks home. Young couples with baby strollers and dogs make their presence felt on weekends; wine bars and clubs featuring alt bands are converting street dread into street cred at night. And now that infrastructure improvements — which once turned many of downtown’s sinuous, shadowy blocks into a labyrinthine nightmare — are moving along, look for a spring awakening of local services and retail outlets, to add to the already-useful Century 21 and J&R.

The area’s cultural and entertainment offerings are taking off as well. You probably last visited the South Street Seaport six years ago when your annoying aunt came to town demanding to “see the sights.” Well, it’s time to go back, and you can leave the knowing local’s smirk at home: The Seaport is about to undergo a massive overhaul. It will feature more shops geared toward locals and expand into two buildings formerly occupied by the Fulton Fish Market. Schermerhorn Row, along the Seaport’s southern flank, which used to be home to the low-rent, maritime-focused offices that Herman Melville immortalized in “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” is now a series of galleries and shops connected to the South Street Seaport Museum. And South Street may soon become home to Soho’s Drawing Center.

Building boom
A slew of residential developments is cropping up downtown.


  1. 150 Nassau Street
  2. 8 Spruce Street
  3. 5 Beekman Street
  4. 119 Fulton Street
  5. 130 Fulton Street
  6. 33 Gold Street
  7. 80 John Street
  8. 59 John Street
  9. 71 Nassau Street
  10. 216 Front Street
  11. 90 William Street
  12. 2 Gold Street
  13. 10 Liberty Street
  14. 100 Maiden Lane
  15. 20 Pine Street
  16. 50 Pine Street
  17. 63 Wall Street
  18. 67 Wall Street
  19. 55 Wall Street
  20. 45 Wall Street
  21. 37 Wall Street
  22. 15 Broad Street
  23. 20 Exchange Place
  24. 15 William Street
  25. 10 Hanover Square
  26. 1 Wall Street Court
  27. 2 Hanover Square
  28. 40 Broad Street
  29. 21 South William Street
  30. 66 Pearl Street
  31. 54–56 Stone Street
  32. 71 Broadway
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Last edited by Don Omar; February 10th, 2007 at 01:27 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 01:25 AM   #703
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NY is booming
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Old February 10th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #704
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What a wonderful revival.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 02:46 AM   #705
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I wouldn't be cheering for all of these projects.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 05:26 AM   #706
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You are the biggest doomsdayer ever...
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Old February 10th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #707
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Greenwich Village Hospital Opts for Smaller but More Efficient



St. Vincent’s plans to demolish the O’Toole Building, build a new facility there and sell most of its old
buildings across Seventh Avenue.



By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA
Published: February 10, 2007

St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village plans to build an entirely new hospital, probably across the street from its current site, and then sell most of its valuable real estate on Seventh Avenue to a developer.

The plan, outlined in papers filed last night with a federal bankruptcy court and in interviews with hospital officials, would create a rare opening for redevelopment of a large chunk of property in the Village, some of the priciest real estate in the country.

The hospital, which filed for bankruptcy in 2005, said the move would be part of an effort to create a smaller, more efficient facility. Like many struggling hospitals in New York City, St. Vincent’s has found that its most valuable asset — the land it sits on — could be the key to its recovery.

St. Vincent’s strategy, which would consolidate several outmoded buildings into a single, more compact one, reflects the transformation of New York’s shrinking hospital industry. Financial problems have prevented needed modernization, and state officials and some hospital executives want to replace aging structures with ones that are more efficient and more attractive to patients and doctors.

Proposing to build a completely new hospital, for an estimated $600 million, is a bold, confident stroke for St. Vincent’s, which has lost money for several years. The company’s plan for emerging from bankruptcy over the next few months, filed with the court yesterday, contained the first public disclosure of its real estate plans.

The hospital would start building its new home before parting with the old one, which could be a calculated risk. It could mean having to spend heavily on construction before cashing in on the real estate.

But Alfred E. Smith IV, who became the St. Vincent’s chairman last fall, said, “I don’t think it’s a stretch in any way.” The greater gamble, he said, would be to keep the existing hospital and try to modernize it. The project, which is only in the preliminary planning stage, will take at least five years to complete.

There is likely to be neighborhood opposition to the new hospital and to replacing the old one with residential or commercial buildings. Both sites are in a landmark district, and the new hospital would be much bigger than what is allowed under current zoning, so special permissions would be required from multiple city agencies.

“The last three years have been really hard on this institution in a negative way,” said Guy Sansone, chief executive officer of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, the nonprofit company that owns the hospital. “The next three will also be hard on this institution, but in a positive way.”

St. Vincent’s has sold or closed the money-losing hospitals it owned in other boroughs, reduced its administrative staff and renegotiated contracts with health insurers and vendors on more favorable terms. It has operated in the black in recent months, and officials hope to turn a modest profit in the coming years.

The bulk of the hospital, with more than 800,000 square feet of space, occupies much of the block between Seventh and Sixth Avenues and 11th and 12th Streets. It consists of many connected buildings, some dating to the 1930s, with a mazelike layout that is far more expensive to heat, light and cool than newer buildings are.

St. Vincent’s once operated more than 700 inpatient beds, but today it has about 450. Its low ceilings, narrow halls, odd floor plans and outdated building materials, hospital officials say, make it hard to accommodate some new equipment, or to convert wards to new uses. Few patients get private rooms, a common feature in newer hospitals that is seen as essential to drawing patients.

In November, a state commission drafted a plan, which has since become law, to downsize New York’s hospital industry, with orders to close, merge or shrink dozens of hospitals and nursing homes. None of those plans directly involve St. Vincent’s Hospital, but most of them point in the direction St. Vincent’s wants to go — toward fewer, newer, more efficient hospital buildings.

Across Seventh Avenue from the main hospital complex, between 12th and 13th Streets, sits the O’Toole Building, an old union hall that St. Vincent’s acquired in 1973, which now contains more than 180,000 square feet of outpatient clinics and offices. The most likely proposal, St. Vincent’s officials say, would be to demolish the O’Toole Building, and build a hospital on the site with 500,000 or more square feet of space.

The hospital would sell most of the main complex east of Seventh Avenue, Mr. Sansone said, but probably not all of it.

“To have big sites like that come available in the West Village, where there would be a tremendous demand for residential, it’s extremely rare,” said Daniel F. Sciannameo, president of the Albert Valuation Group, a major Manhattan real estate appraiser.

“In this market, even as shells that someone would knock down, I think they could get $250 or $300 million, at least,” he said.





Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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Old February 10th, 2007, 07:31 PM   #708
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photo update on booming Long Island City



link to article A Bachelor Pad With a View: A Giant Bottle Cap
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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:22 AM   #709
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Wow, I diddnt knew there was so much construction at downtown, are there any renderings about the 32 residential Projekts mentioned above ?
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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #710
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That number (32) does not reflect under contruction or planned buildings only. It includes buildings that have recently been completed (such as 10 Liberty and 2 Gold) as well as many office-to-residential conversions (such as all the Pine and Wall St. addresses). Only a handful of those 32 are actually brand new, from-scratch skyscrapers (15 William is one of these).
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Old February 12th, 2007, 03:11 AM   #711
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http://www.skyscrapercity.com/images...lies/guns1.gif
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Old February 13th, 2007, 02:43 AM   #712
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wow cool projects
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Old February 13th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #713
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http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...p-417657c.html
Plan to raze Fulton St. Gallery stuns merchants

BY RACHEL MONAHAN
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Downtown Brooklyn's Albee Square Mall could be demolished as early as this year to make way for a new megadevelopment, much to the distress of current merchants.

A partnership headed by Paul Travis and Aaron Malinsky reportedly will pay Thor Equities more than $125 million for control of the mall - officially known as The Gallery at Fulton St.

The city, which owns the land, must approve the deal.

The developer's application for a city tax benefit estimates that 332 jobs at the site will be lost and 1,879 will be added - 500 of them office jobs.

Creating more jobs was little consolation to the current mall tenants, who are set to lose their stores.

"I don't know if I should cry," said Ted Priftakis, owner for the past 26 years of the restaurant Top Potato.

Adding insult to injury, he said, Thor Equities encouraged Priftakis to stay during a remodeling of the mall a few years ago.

The landlord had yet to notify them of the sale, tenants said yesterday. Crain's New York Business published news of the sale late Tuesday on its Web site.

Eric Waltower, who opened Cunora's Accessories just under a year and a half ago, said he didn't even realize the mall was up for sale until this week.

"If my wife and I had known that this place was going to be sold, we would never have invested in here," he said.

He'd snapped up the opportunity after working his way up from being a street vendor on Bridge St. across from Macy's. He and his wife spent retirement savings and borrowed $3,000 from his father to try to get his business up and running.

The city is set to grant benefits on sales and real estate taxes for the office portion of the building, said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the city Economic Development Corp.

A vote by the agency's subsidiary - the Industrial Development Agency - is scheduled for Tuesday.

Opponents planned to rally at the mall today.

The tax benefit distressed community advocates further.

"If you're going to give money back to someone from the outside, why aren't you going to give something back to the community?" asked Beverly Corbin, co-chairwoman of the advocacy group Families United for Economic and Racial Equality.

The plan for the site includes residential, commercial and office space, according to the developer's application. Travis declined to discuss details.

The new owner has indicated in a letter to the city that Wal-Mart will not be among the new tenants, Brent said.

Originally published on February 8, 2007
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Old February 13th, 2007, 03:50 AM   #714
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http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...p-418577c.html
BAM plan eyes home for hoofers

Dance studios to anchor new tower

BY RACHEL MONAHAN
DAILY NEWS WRITER

A new building proposed for Fort Greene will have people dancing - quite literally.

The city opened up bids Friday for the centerpiece of the new Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District - a 25-story building that will include at least 150 apartments as well as new studios and a performance space for dance companies.

"This is really the first choreographic center for contemporary dance in the United States," said Adam Bernstein, board president of Danspace Project, which will move from Manhattan into the proposed building at Fulton St. and Ashland Place.

"By having this facility we would be able to serve the contemporary-dance community in New York City in a deeper way," he said.

The high-rise will also include street-level shops, and half of the apartments will be set aside for low- to middle-income New Yorkers.

The city is to sell the property for a nominal fee.

Danspace Project is to move from its current location at St. Mark's Church in the East Village and provide some lucky dance companies the space to create, rehearse and perform their works all at one location.

The 39,000 square feet dedicated to dance is to include at least 10 studios - enough for more than 1,000 groups over the course of a year to use the space in different ways, Bernstein said.

"This new venue will provide a much-needed asset in New York City," said Harvey Lichtenstein, chairman of planning for the BAM Cultural District.

In addition to being a unique project for its inclusion of affordable housing with art space, the project is among the first city-commissioned projects to include new environmental requirements for indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and environmentally friendly materials.

The winning bid also has to ensure the architectural design blends well with the district.

The Danspace Project is to join more than 40 other BAM-area artistic groups, including the Mark Morris Dance Center and the planned home for The Theater for a New Audience, both of which are on the same block.

"The growth of a cultural district will significantly complement and enhance the growth of downtown Brooklyn," said Joe Chan, head of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the public-private organization overseeing development of the area.

Originally published on February 12, 2007
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Old February 13th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #715
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Deal Would Triple the Size of the Albee Square Mall in Brooklyn and Add a High-Rise


By ANDY ******
February 13, 2007

The Downtown Brooklyn shopping plaza formerly known as the Albee Square Mall will soon undergo yet another incarnation: It will be razed, rebuilt at triple the size and topped with a high-rise with offices and a thousand apartments, its prospective new owners said yesterday.

The mall is being sold to a partnership of developers for about $125 million, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said. Today, the city’s Industrial Development Agency is expected to approve $3.2 million in tax breaks related to the sale for the new owners, a coalition including a nationally prominent firm, MacFarlane Partners of San Francisco.

The partnership, Albee Development L.L.C., has drawn up a letter of agreement with the current owner, Thor Equities, said Roxanne Donovan, the new team’s spokeswoman. Thor Equities, which bought the mall for $25 million in 2001, would not comment yesterday.

Albee Development’s plans, Ms. Donovan said, call for nearly half a million square feet of retail space, up from 150,000; about 125,000 square feet of Class A office space; and 1,000 rental apartments, 20 percent of which would be for tenants of moderate income.

The size of the project was made possible by the rezoning of much of Downtown Brooklyn in 2004, along with a seemingly endless economic boom.

The current mall, the Gallery at Fulton Street, is three stories high. There is no specific height planned for the tower, but the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, Daniel L. Doctoroff, said that the project would be “one of the tallest buildings in Downtown Brooklyn.”

The project, to be known as the Center at Albee Square, would have to go through several layers of government approval, but the new zoning allows more than 1 million square feet of development on the site. The pending sale was reported in Crain’s New York Business last week. The city owns the land under the mall, and Mr. Doctoroff said a tentative deal calls for the new owners to pay $28 million in rent over the next four years.

When the Albee Square Mall opened in 1980 at a pivotal spot on the Fulton Street pedestrian plaza, where much of black Brooklyn and Queens shops, it became a fashion destination for the young.

In a 1988 paean to the place called “Albee Square Mall,” the comic rapper Biz Markie described a typical jaunt:

I step in the place and shop around for a while

Buy some jewelry for Treny and Ali, and after that I’ll

Go take a stroll inside of Gibb’s Pups

Then buy some fresh silks, Bally’s too.

But the mall was also beset with problems, including rent strikes by store owners and endless complaints about security and maintenance. In 1990, Forest City Ratner bought the mall, rechristened it the Gallery at MetroTech, promised to bring it upscale, then seemed to lose interest.

In 2001, Joseph L. Sitt of Thor Equities bought the mall, named it the Gallery at Fulton Street and promised to remake it in the image of a palatial Italian villa with granite floors, national retailers like the Gap and tuxedoed greeters.

He got as far as spiffing up the first floor and putting a new awning on the outside. The basement level is a mostly vacant bunker. In place of a greeter in a tuxedo stands a man wearing a sandwich sign over his parka, advertising a sale at a leather coat store inside.

However humble, the mall is home to dozens of merchants, some of whom were upset over the new plans.

Eric Waltower, owner of Cunora Accessories, said he was selling jewelry from a cart on a nearby sidewalk two years ago when he was tempted inside. He sunk $30,000 into the space, which is now filled with necklaces, handbags and shiny belts.

“If they’d told me at the first meeting that they were looking to get rid of the place,” he said, “I’d have stayed out on Bridge Street.”

One of his customers, Janae Woodbury, 14, of Bushwick, said she would be sad to see the mall torn down. She brightened when she learned that a bigger mall was planned.

“That would be better,” she said. “They need more stores.”


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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Old February 13th, 2007, 11:18 AM   #716
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Spitzer, in Reversal, Is Expected to Approve Freedom Tower, Officials Say

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: February 13, 2007
nytimes.com

With the downtown real estate market improving rapidly, Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to abandon his criticism of the Freedom Tower as a looming white elephant and to approve construction of the tower, which would rise 1,776 feet at ground zero, according to city, state and Port Authority officials.

When the new governor took office in January, his administration had put the Freedom Tower, one of five towers planned for the downtown site, under review. But with tenants leasing about two-thirds of the newly completed 7 World Trade Center and vacancy rates falling in Lower Manhattan, officials say that the prospects for the 2.6-million-square-foot Freedom Tower are improving.

Officials say that the point of no return is fast approaching for the $3 billion tower. Critics of the project, who regard it as poorly designed for corporate tenants and too big and expensive, had hoped that Mr. Spitzer, or his partner at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey, would delay or kill the project.

Mr. Spitzer is expected to make an announcement about the Freedom Tower before a Feb. 22 meeting of the authority, which plans to vote on $460 million in contracts for concrete and electrical and plumbing work on the building. Next month, there will be another $300 million in contracts for curtain walls, elevators and escalators.

A spokeswoman for the governor, Christine Anderson, declined to comment.

The Port Authority, however, was buoyant about both the downtown real estate market and the tower. “While we are pleased that the market conditions continue to be strong and that the building is on schedule and on budget,” said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the authority, “we have not reached any final conclusions or moved to final authorization.”

The officials said that the governor’s change of heart is not an indication that corporations are suddenly lining up to lease space in the Freedom Tower, which some potential tenants fear is a possible terrorist target. Yet some authority executives say those anxieties are subsiding as the city’s economy improves.

Indeed, a state official and two senior executives at the authority say the authority has received unsolicited inquiries from hedge funds and investment banks about buying the tower, but officials have not taken any formal steps down that road. In the last year, the city has been awash with investors eager to invest billions in real estate, be it office towers or large residential complexes. For example, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, adjoining apartment complexes in Manhattan, sold for a record-breaking $5.4 billion in November.

A senior Port Authority executive said that a sale or lease to a private owner would entail the buyer’s guaranteeing that the tower would be completed on schedule. It would also mean that the authority would not have to finance nearly $1 billion to build the skyscraper, and it would not suffer continuing losses until the building was fully leased. The buyer, in turn, would enjoy the future appreciation on the property.

Still, some real estate experts questioned why the Freedom Tower was being built at the same time that the developer Larry A. Silverstein was getting ready to build three office towers with more than six million square feet of space. They complained that it had attracted only government tenants who were being forced to pay higher rents than they should.

The developer Douglas Durst and the real estate investor Anthony E. Malkin say the tower is ill conceived, the result of a hasty six-week “redesign” after the police raised security concerns.

Mr. Durst said that the value of the tower would increase over time, but added that it made little sense to build everything at once.

“People want to see an economically viable building in a resurging downtown,” Mr. Malkin said. “Why is government building a skyscraper for government tenants in what should be the most valuable cornerstone of the project, and maybe all of downtown? Private capital has shown a willingness to build, but perhaps not with this design.”

Mr. Durst and Mr. Malkin say they are continuing in the footsteps of their families.

Mr. Durst’s father, Seymour, and Mr. Malkin’s grandfather, Lawrence A. Wein, were ardent opponents of the original plan for the World Trade Center. In 1964, they formed the Committee for a Reasonable World Trade Center, which argued that the complex would flood the real estate market with subsidized space and compete unfairly with private landlords. By some accounts, the complex was not fully occupied and successful until shortly before it was destroyed.

Under the terms of a deal struck last fall, the Port Authority has taken over financial responsibility for the Freedom Tower from Mr. Silverstein. At $3 billion, the tower will cost $1,155 per square foot, which real estate experts said would require a net annual rent of as much as $80 a square foot.

The authority expects to get about $1.2 billion in insurance proceeds, $250 million from New York State and nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds. That still leaves a considerable shortfall, although the state and federal governments have signed nonbinding agreements to lease one million square feet, or 38 percent of the skyscraper, for initial rent of $59 a square foot.

In order to get construction financing, lenders usually require private developers to secure leases for about half the space in a proposed office building. In addition, investment banks, companies often paying the highest rents in the market, have no interest in the tower, principally because the floors would be too small for trading operations.

State, city and Port Authority officials, even some who had been critical of the Freedom Tower in the past, say that the downtown market is improving faster than anyone expected. Mr. Silverstein is getting rents as high as $70 a square foot for 7 World Trade Center, they say.

JPMorgan Chase is talking with the authority about the possibility of acquiring the site of the former Deutsche Bank building near ground zero, soon to be demolished, and Midtown corporations and law firms are beginning to move downtown, drawn by rents that are 30 percent cheaper than those uptown.

Port Authority officials say that if the Freedom Tower is delayed, they will be unable to capitalize on the current market.

According to Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate firm, the vacancy rate for office space downtown has fallen to 10.3 percent, from 13.9 percent only a year ago. The Dutch bank ABN Amro recently signed a lease for 140,000 square feet at Mr. Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Center, at the northwest corner of Vesey and Greenwich Streets. But Goldman Sachs plans to vacate as much as 2 million square feet in several office buildings when it moves to its new headquarters at Battery Park City.

Barry M. Gosin, the chief executive of Newmark and a former critic of the Freedom Tower, said that he could now go “either way” on the project. “There’s some merit to building it later,” he said. “You’d get the full benefit of the created value. On the other hand, building now is fine.”
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:31 AM   #717
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The Freedom Tower has its own thread, so please post any further articles there and not here.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:29 AM   #718
Don Omar
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well the world trade center is apart of New York, so....
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Old February 15th, 2007, 07:31 PM   #719
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It's ok TalB kinda thinks he's the boss around here. Pay him no mind.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 11:39 PM   #720
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Ha not only that but he really is a WTC killjoy.
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