Volume 18 • Issue 23 | October 21 - 27, 2005

Design for the Goldman Sachs building in Battery Park City

Goldman Sachs readies to begin less noisy construction

By Ronda Kaysen

Construction of a new corporate headquarters in Battery Park City will be quieter than other projects have been, potentially sparing nearby schoolchildren from excessive noise.

Work on the new Goldman Sachs building, a 740-ft. tall Pei Cobb Freed-designed structure, could begin as soon as November and continue for at least two years. Despite its size, the foundation will not require pile driving, a noisy excavation process. Instead, developers of the $2 billion project plan to drill caissons. Unlike driving piles, which hammers the ground, drilling is a far quieter process.

Seven World Trade Center, a Larry Silverstein development just north of the World Trade Center site, drilled caissons opposed to driving piles, and received no serioius complaints from the community.

“That’s great news for us and for the schools and for everyone,” said Paul Goldstein, district manager of Community Board 1, in a telephone interview. “The caisson piles are quiet… We don’t anticipate a major impact if that’s the technique they’re using.”

The Goldman site, between West St. and North End Ave. and Murray and Vesey Sts., is two blocks south of P.S./I.S. 89, an elementary and middle school on West and Warren Sts. C.B. 1 members voiced concerns at an Oct. 5 meeting with Goldman representatives that construction might impact neighborhood children. “We’re hoping we can give you the children’s test days so when our children grow up maybe one day they can work at Goldman,” C.B. 1 member Tom Goodkind told Goldman representatives.

Goldman expects to work around school schedules “when there is written correspondence and it isn’t weekly spelling tests, but extraordinary tests,” said Jessica Healy, the Goldman Sachs community liaison for the project.

The community recently won a battle with another developer, Edward Minskoff, to mitigate noise at a Tribeca development on the east side of West St. The development, which will drive piles, is located opposite P.S. 234, a Tribeca elementary school. City Councilmember Alan Gerson led the protracted fight to quiet the noise, and eventually brokered an agreement favorable to the school. Gerson insists he will press Battery Park City developers to follow similar noise mitigation methods, if necessary.

With Goldman foreseeing a drilled foundation, the community will likely avoid another fight.

Goldman expects the drilling process to take 30 weeks. Crews will work six days a week, from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and irregular hours on Saturdays.

Noise is not the only concern nearby businesses and residents will face as the 42-story tower is constructed. The businesses along North End Ave. will be encased in scaffolding for the next two years and eventually contained inside a glass-covered plaza. Goldman officials insist signage at Vesey and Murray Sts. will alert passersby to the presence of the stores—a movie theater, three restaurants and a gym.

The business owners seem unfazed by the prospect of a life enshrouded in blue scaffolding. “We’re not expecting it to be a negative thing. We’re expecting it to bring more business for us,” said Michelle Dapkins, a manager at Applebee’s, a restaurant in the middle of the block.



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