Volume 19 Issue 52 | May 11 -17, 2007

Under Cover

Ahead of schedule
A construction site that’s ahead of schedule may seem as rare as a unicorn in New York City these days, but two Downtown projects wrapped up early to start the month of May. On West St., the city’s continuing search for human remains finished up two weeks ahead of schedule, reopening a northbound lane of the street.

Over on the East Side, pile driving for the Frank Gehry-designed Beekman St. tower concluded a month early — though it did take many months to start and the developers still haven’t released any current plans for what the 75-story residential complex will look like. The tower will also house offices for the New York Downtown Hospital and a public K-8 school.

Sold 60 Wall
After dozens of stories about the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty St., we at UnderCover must turn our pens briefly to another Deutsche Bank property — 60 Wall St.

On May 4, the bank sold 60 Wall to the Paramount Group for a bar-setting $1.2 billion. Deutsche purchased the 47-story building in 2001 for a reported $610 million. Despite the sale, the bank will not be vacating Lower Manhattan anytime soon. Deutsche’s commercial real estate group helped to finance Paramount’s purchase and Deutsche Bank signed a lease to keep their North American headquarters at 60 Wall for at least the next 15 years.

Woolworth no-go
In other office tower news, reports that the top floors of the landmark Woolworth Building will not be converted into residential condos after all. Instead, the building’s ownership group, which includes Steve Witkoff, plans to turn the top floors into posh office space — complete with concierge service and a separate lobby. The non-condo conversion is becoming increasingly trendy with developers as commercial rents soar in Lower Manhattan.

Silver upstaged
Even Lower Manhattan’s most powerful state official gets upstaged sometimes.

Wearing a navy and red Rangers cap, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was at the Garden to support the Broadway Blueshirts in their game six tilt with the Sabres Sunday afternoon. Silver has been a regular at Rangers games this season — a fact not lost on the photographers from the New York Post and other tabloids. On Sunday, however, the arena’s camera crew passed right by Silver to instead zoom in on Gerard Butler, the star of “300,” who was sitting just a few seats away.

Though born in Glasgow, Butler also shares a connection to Lower Manhattan. He co-stars with Hilary Swank in the upcoming romantic tearjerker “P.S., I Love You,” which shot several scenes Downtown last fall.

Unfortunately, the combined support of the Speaker and the Spartan warrior was not enough to push the Rangers to victory. The Sabres beat New York, 5-4, ending the Blueshirts best playoff run since 1997.

Ferry thee well
Just a week after the city welcomed the start of express ferry service from Yonkers to Lower Manhattan, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that ferries may soon be shuttling commuters from the beaches of Rockaway.

The city said Tuesday that it is issuing a call for ferry services to operate a route between at least one spot in the Rockaways and Lower Manhattan, with the option to add more stops on the Rockaway or Brooklyn waterfronts. Ferry companies have six weeks to submit their proposals and the city may offer financial assistance to get the route going.

Though the ferry is being billed as a commuter service for transit-starved Rockaway workers, UnderCover sincerely hopes that some weekend beach-day routes will be part of the winning package.

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