Volume 21, Number 12 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 1 - 7, 2008
By Patrick Hedlund
On the waterfront
The city should be required to devise a strategy for waterfront development every 10 years to encourage vitality along the shores, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says.
Quinn, speaking at an event on Governors Island on Saturday, said she would introduce a bill next month mandating that the Department of City Planning create proposals for waterfront development each decade.
“There’s really so much potential in our waterways that we have yet to unlock,” she said. She cited her earlier proposal for all-borough ferry service and addressing the waterfront “as it relates to development, public use, industry and the natural environment.”
“By making it easier for people to get around the city, they have the potential to truly open up hundreds of miles of waterfront land throughout the city, creating permanent jobs and giving all New Yorkers — not just a privileged few — access to our city’s spectacular waterfront parks,” Quinn said.
A spokesperson for the speaker said the measure would be introduced at the City Council’s next meeting on July 14.
Landmarks’ grand goal
With the recent restoration of funds in the city budget and an abundance of buildings eyed for historic protection, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will attempt to designate about 1,000 properties citywide before Mayor Mike Bloomberg leaves office.
The push, announced by L.P.C. Commissioner Robert Tierney in an article in Monday’s New York Post, comes after the recent designation of the West Chelsea Historic District and current efforts by preservationists to landmark a swath of blocks in Soho and southern Greenwich Village.
“The clock is ticking, and we’re trying to do as much as possible while we have the momentum and the resources,” Tierney told the Post. “I’m not sure ‘urgent’ is the right word, but there is a sense that we have to move ahead.”
A proposal to designate the South Village Historic District — an area of 38 blocks and 800 buildings that would abut the Greenwich Village Historic District — is currently under the commission’s consideration.
Andrew Berman, who joined the successful bid for West Chelsea’s designation, has been at the forefront of the South Village proposal as executive director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation.
“Our hope is that [L.PC.] will have begun to take action on the South Village before that [18-month] period is over, ideally on as much of it is possible,” Berman told Mixed Use. “I do believe that is a realistic goal.”
Brokerage’s Wall St. shuffle
The Financial District-based residential real estate firm Platinum Properties will bolster its Downtown presence by expanding into larger digs on Wall St., the brokerage announced this week.
The young company will take over 4,327 square feet of office space at the former United States Treasury building at 30 Wall St., in a move from just down the block at 48 Wall St. The new space is five times larger than the firm’s former offices and will incorporate environmentally friendly features such as an integrated database to reduce printing waste, energy-efficient light bulbs and Energy Star appliances.
The brokerage signed a 10-year lease for the space at a price of $45 per square foot, according to Newmark Knight Frank, which represented Platinum in the deal. Jones Lang LaSalle represented the landlord, the Pyne Companies Ltd., in the transaction.
“We are extremely excited about the new office,” Khashy Eyn, president and C.E.O. of Platinum Properties, said in a statement. “In addition to its coveted location, we will also have sufficient space to interact with and meet clients on a daily basis, as well as expand into new services that will allow us to establish new business relationships.”
The company will also be launching a new call-in service, Platinum Concierge, providing Manhattan buyers and renters personalized assistance on real estate-related questions. Established in 2005, the company has a staff of about two-dozen agents with an average age of 25, the statement said.
New capital conductor
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the selection of a new head for its Capital Construction Company on Monday, only the M.T.A.’s second long-term appointment to the post since the division’s founding in 2003.
Michael Horodniceanu — who worked in the private sector as C.E.O. of a transportation-planning engineering firm after previously serving as the city’s Traffic commissioner from 1986 to 1990 — will succeed former C.C.C. President Mysore Nagaraja. (Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim served as acting president after Nagaraja’s departure in January.)
“Michael has the experience and vision to lead the M.T.A. Capital Construction Company at a time when the need for our transportation megaprojects is clear,” Elliot Sander, M.T.A. executive director, said in a statement.
The appointment comes at a time when the M.T.A. is facing fire for announcing a pair of fare hikes expected in 2009 and again in 2011.
“Challenging times will demand innovative solutions,” Horodniceanu said, “and I look forward to working…to get the job done.”