Volume 18 • Issue 17 | September 16 - 22, 2005

Charles Maikish, Lower Manhattan’s construction coordinator, left, John Whitehead, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. chairperson, and Governor Pataki mark the beginning of the deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank building.

Deutsche Bank’s dismantling begins

By Ellen Keohane

Just three days before the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Governor George Pataki and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation officials announced that the deconstruction of the Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty St. would begin.

The former Deutsche Bank building has sat vacant, encased in black netting, since 9/11. The 40-story tower was heavily damaged during the attack and is contaminated with dust and debris containing asbestos, lead and other hazardous substances and contaminants.

“By taking down the shrouded former Deutsche Bank building, we will replace the crippling symbol with new open spaces for Lower Manhattan’s visitors, workers and residents,” Pataki said in a statement.

The demolition of 130 Liberty St. is a long time coming. A legal dispute between the building’s owner and its insurers first delayed deconstruction. Then the L.M.D.C., which acquired the building in August 2004, had to wait for the E.P.A. to approve its deconstruction plan before any work could begin. That approval finally came through on Sept. 8.

The deconstruction will take place in two phases. During the first phase, scaffolding will be erected around the exterior of the building. Once scaffolding reaches the 30th floor, the netting will be removed in sections. After the netting is removed, the façade of the building will be wiped clean by hand in a negative pressure environment. The building and all its porous contents — carpeting, ceiling tiles and sheetrock — will be considered asbestos contaminated and cleaned before leaving the building by way of a hoist on Albany St.

Specially trained workers, covered head to toe and using full-face respirators will be required to enter and exit the site through a decontamination zone.

The erection of the scaffolding will most likely be completed by mid-December, in time for phase II, the demolition phase, to begin in February. The building will be demolished floor-by-floor and carried away in as a many as 20 trucks a day.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed by early 2007, and will likely cost between $70 million and $85 million, said Lou Mendez, director of construction for the L.M.D.C. at a Sept. 7 Community Board 1 meeting.

Throughout the demolition, the L.M.D.C. will monitor air on and around 130 Liberty St. with 12 air-monitoring stations located on the building’s roof, on the scaffolding, on the ground and on surrounding buildings. Data from the air-monitoring stations will be available online.

At the meeting Kimberly Flynn, a member of the 9/11 Environmental Action community group, expressed concern that the Safeway Environmental Corp. had signed a contract to work with L.M.D.C. on part of the first phase of the project. In July, Safeway was involved in the demolition of a supermarket on the Upper West Side that collapsed unexpectedly, injuring 10 people, including an infant.

“It’s impossible to find a company that doesn’t have any environmental violations,” said Mendez in response. Safeway will play a minor role in the overall scaffolding contract and will also deal with netting removal. The company is responsible for a small part of the project and will receive $3 million - $4 million for their work, he said.


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