Plywood panels have been installed on Fiterman Hall to allow firefighters to enter the building in the event of an emergency while the building is being demolished.
C.B. 1: Deutsche could learn demo lessons at Fiterman
By Julie Shapiro
There is no competition between those responsible for demolishing Fiterman Hall and those responsible for demolishing the former Deutsche Bank building, but community board members couldnt help but compare the two projects Monday night.
The State Dormitory Authority, which is responsible for Fiterman Hall, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty St., made back-to-back presentations at Community Board 1.
The Dorm Authority gave a detailed presentation on progress at Fiterman Hall, including a slide show with dozens of photos comprising a virtual tour of the building. The L.M.D.C. gave its usual laconic update, sans visuals.
Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of the W.T.C. Redevelopment Committee, noted the difference and asked if the L.M.D.C. could give the community board a virtual tour next month.
Maybe, L.M.D.C. spokesperson Mike Murphy said.
Both Fiterman Hall, part of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the Deutsche Bank building were heavily damaged on 9/11 and are being decontaminated so they can be demolished. Work at both buildings halted last year after a fire at the Deutsche Bank building killed two firefighters.
The district attorney is investigating the fire, and a government source told Downtown Express last week that indictments could come before the end of the year. The source said the D.A. would focus indictments on executives at John Galt Corp. and Bovis Lend Lease, the companies overseeing the demolition at the time of the fire, and would not indict city or L.M.D.C. officials. The source said the city and L.M.D.C. would be strongly rebuked, though. This week there were several press reports that the indictments would be before Christmas and would focus solely on contractors.
Investigation aside, work at both damaged towers is moving forward. Both projects are now in the final stages of decontamination and both are slated to be demolished by the end of next August. But the community has more faith in Fitermans schedule than in the Deutsche Bank.
If you had to place your money, Fiterman is probably coming down first, before 130 Liberty, Hughes said Monday night as Fitermans environmental consultant spoke.
Did you have to say that? one member of the Fiterman team asked, as he and his colleagues leaned forward to knock on the table.
Workers have gutted Fiterman Halls 15 stories of everything from desks and light bulbs to wiring and ductwork. All thats left now is the fine cleaning of the barren floors, which should be complete in February, said Benn Lewis, vice president of Airtek Environmental Corp., the projects environmental consultant. To date, every time the workers have certified a section of the building as clean, the government regulators have agreed, Lewis said.
The demolition will then take an additional four to six months, finishing by the end of August.
Lewis said the Fiterman team submitted its demolition plan to the government regulators in April and then submitted another version in response to the regulators comments. Most of the comments asked for more detail or clarification, he said. He is now waiting for a response to the second draft of the plan, and he did not want to speculate on when that would come.
Construction of the new Fiterman Hall will take two-and-a-half years, and the state will send the first contracts out to bid early next year.
One complication with Fitermans demolition is that some asbestos-coated beams sit behind the brick facade and cannot be abated until the building starts coming down. The demolition plan will describe the procedure for those beams in detail, Lewis said.
During Mondays meeting, Lewis showed a picture of a fire-safety feature that is almost complete at the building. Before workers take the elevators out of operation to clean the shafts, they are building an exterior hoist reserved only for first responders. On each floor, the hoist will stop alongside scored plywood panels that are easy to kick out in case of an emergency. Beneath the plywood is a plastic sheet that is easy to cut, allowing firefighters quick access into and out of the building, Lewis said.
Work at 130 Liberty St. is also continuing. The 26-story building is fully abated through the 10th floor, with workers on floors four through nine, Murphy said. This week, workers on scaffolding started removing the buildings facade. They started at the 19th floor (the facade above there is already gone) and are moving down the building, with each floor taking approximately one week.
But the L.M.D.C. has not yet submitted its demolition plan to regulators. It plans to do so by the end of the year or a little after, Murphy said. He expects the L.M.D.C. to finish decontaminating the building in January and move immediately into demolition.
There will be no delay, he told the community board. Well have the plan done.
When members of the community board questioned whether the L.M.D.C. would be able to get the demolition plan approved so quickly, Murphy said the L.M.D.C. has been working with the regulators on writing the plan, so the regulators wont be seeing it for the first time.
City Councilmember Alan Gerson is holding a hearing on 130 Liberty St. on Dec. 17. Murphy pledged to hold a public meeting on the demolition plan in January, once it is submitted to the regulators.