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Pier A and bond issue update:
The Battery Park City Authority is on the verge of turning over Pier A to the Poulakakos family and the Dermot Company so that they can embark on interior construction for a restaurant and visitor center. They expect to open in the middle of 2014.
Pier A, the last remaining 19th-century pier in Manhattan, was built between 1884 and 1886 to serve the Department of Docks and Harbor Police. Its clock tower was added in 1919 as the first World War I memorial in the United States.
“We’ve sent a notification of project completion to the tenant,” Gwen Dawson, senior vice president, asset management, said at the Battery Park City Authority board of directors meeting June 18. “We’re having a walk–through tomorrow.”
She said that the B.P.C.A. has some additional exterior paintwork to do but should be able to turn over the building to the tenants by the end of June.
The Battery Park City Authority is still responsible for constructing a plaza for Pier A. That work has not yet begun. Funds will come from the authority’s capital budget, which must be approved by the mayor and city comptroller.
“We have a good dialogue going on with the comptroller’s office,” said B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel. “It’s taking a little longer from the city. So we’re doing what we can to expedite those discussions. At the moment, our capital plan awaits the approval of the administration. We’re hopeful that those discussions can mature over the next two to three weeks.”
Mehiel said that he hopes the discussions will come to a successful conclusion by the time the board convenes in July. If not, he said, “It could have a potential impact on our calendar and getting into the capital markets.”
The Battery Park City Authority wants to issue $300 million worth of bonds in September, but in order to make that date, Mehiel said, “we’ve got to get to the Public Authorities Control Board at its August meeting for approval. That requires completion of all our work and all submissions have to be in by August 1 to make their agenda. That means we have to get the Administration to sign off in July.”
Mehiel said that the process had been “a little bit slow and frustrating, but we remain optimistic that we’ll get there.”
In addition to funds for the Pier A plaza, the capital plan awaiting approval includes funds for the bridge to cross West St. at West Thames. “We’ll see where that goes,” said Mehiel.
Sydney Druckman retires:
After 27 years with the Battery Park City Authority, Sydney Druckman, director of special projects, attended her last board of directors meeting on June 18. She is retiring at the end of June.
She was responsible for the art in Battery Park City’s parks and for concert series, ribbon cuttings and other special events.
“She served as our ambassador to all who came to visit Battery Park City, to learn about our successes here,” said Robert Serpico, the B.P.C.A.’s chief financial officer. He said that Battery Park City would not have been built out as it was without her.
“It has been a privilege to work here,” Druckman said. She alluded to Tessa Huxley’s “green” tending of the neighborhood parks and to Battery Park City having the first “green” residential high-rise building in America.
“No one knows we started it [the green revolution in architecture], but we did,” she said. “To be part of that has been my pleasure. It has just been amazing and I have been so delighted to be part of it.”
Brookfield Office Properties update:
Mighty Quinn’s barbecue has joined the lineup of eateries scheduled to open in Brookfield Place (formerly 2 World Financial Center) in 2014. The food court will be on the upper level of the building with a marketplace run by the Poulakakos family on the floor beneath.
On the retail side, Brookfield Office Properties has announced that Hermes will join Michael Kors and Burberry in the Winter Garden.
Battery Park City stats:
The mayor’s recently released report on how climate change has and will affect New York City (“A Stronger, More Resilient New York”) contains some interesting statistics. According to the 2010 census, Battery Park City now has a population of 13,400 and a median household income of $170,900 — the highest in southern Manhattan. By comparison, the median household income for all of New York City is $51,300.
Whereas 19 percent of New Yorkers live in poverty, only 5 percent of Battery Park City residents do — though it may surprise some people that there is any poverty in Battery Park City at all.
The median value of an owner-occupied apartment in Battery Park City is $764,000. There are 1,200 owner-occupied housing units and 19 percent of B.P.C. residents own their own homes.
Midsummer Swedish Festival:
The summer solstice is bitter-sweet as the longest days of daylight end, just as the heat of summer begins, but Battery Park City’s annual Swedish Midsummer Festival takes away the sting. This year it takes place on June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with dancing between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Beautiful maidens of varying ages with wreaths of flowers on their heads dance with their swains around a Maypole in Wagner Park. Everyone, Swedish or not, joins in the folk dancing led by Barnklubben Elsa Rix, the Swedish Folkdancers of New York and Ross Sutter, singer and Scandinavian folklorist. Paul Dahlin and fiddlers from the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis play traditional Swedish music.
There are games for the children and Swedish food.
The event is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden and the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. It’s lots of fun. Don’t miss it.
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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER