Volume 22, Number 04 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 5 - 11, 2009
Rendering of the Frank Gehry designed tower and school being built on Beekman and Spruce Sts.
Ratner back to building 76 stories on Beekman
The Beekman St. apartment tower will rise to its full height of 76 stories to be the tallest residential tower in the city, developer Forest City Ratner announced last week.
Ratner had halted the upward construction of the tower two months ago when the poured concrete reached 38 stories. Ratner was considering leaving the tower at that height, cutting off architect Frank Gehry’s undulating stainless steel design at its halfway point.
But an agreement with the city’s construction unions and a softening in the price of materials netted enough cost savings to allow the project to move forward, Ratner said in a press release Friday.
During the two-month hiatus, construction continued on the K-8 Spruce Street School that will sit in the tower’s base and on the Downtown Hospital ambulatory care center.
Ratner is still predicting that the building’s 903 apartments will begin occupancy in summer 2010 and that the school will be ready to open that fall, but a source familiar with the project said those dates are likely to slip. Ratner will have a more realistic prediction soon, once the bids for interior work come in, the source said.
Downtown residents have long expected that the Spruce Street School would not open until 2011, because even if the school itself is ready in 2010, the ongoing construction on the tower above it could make the site dangerous for children. Will Havemann, a Dept. of Education spokesperson, said the city would make a decision about the safety of opening the school when the date got closer, but he did not give a timeline.
Ratner previously froze work on the tower in 2007, when only the foundation was done, because of trouble getting financing. But then in March 2008 Ratner received $680 million in construction financing, including $204 million in Liberty Bonds, which allowed work to move forward.
— Julie Shapiro