130 Liberty delayed due to crane issues

BY Aline Reynolds

Volume 20, Number 46 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 10 – 16, 2010


130 Liberty demo delayed due to crane issues

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has missed its deadline yet again to dismantle the tower at 130 Liberty Street.

The former Deutsche Bank building, originally slated for demolition in June 2007, was supposed to be torn down by the end of this year. But construction mishaps have again delayed the project, L.M.D.C.’s Director of City Operations Josh Rosenbloom announced at Monday ’s Community Board 1 World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee meeting. Rosenbloom attributed the latest holdup to crane problems.

“It’s a very sensitive piece of equipment – the slightest little thing goes wrong in the crane, the computer shuts down,” said Rosenbloom. “It’s nothing major, just a couple of small incidents that took the crane out for a period of time.”

Also, the reinforcing steel of the building’s sixth floor was thicker than anticipated, he explained, and took longer than expected to remove. Workers are currently removing the steel and concrete of the building’s fifth floor.

“Do you see anything else that might come up that could set you back even further?” asked committee member Joel Kopel.

Rosenbloom replied that inclement weather such as a snowstorm could potentially postpone the completion of the project even further, but that no other interruptions are anticipated.

The transfer of the property from the L.M.D.C. to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is consequently postponed until early February, a few weeks following the demolition. The L.M.D.C. is however trying to shorten the turnover time. The Port Authority did not return calls for comment as of press time.

“It’s frustrating – this building has been an eyesore for too many years,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, committee chair. On behalf of the Downtown community, Hughes said, “It’s another broken promise by the L.M.D.C.”

Hughes has recently received several complaints from community members about dust build-up and deafening noise coming from the construction site.

Kimberly Flynn, head of 9/11 Environmental Action, gave a first-hand account from a loft at 125 Cedar Street last week.

“Nobody wants [the L.M.D.C.] to tiptoe around this demolition,” she said, “but the noise was absolutely unbearable, and the [apartment] windows are caked with dust.”

The L.M.D.C., Flynn added, should have installed double-paned windows in nearby apartment buildings to minimize the noise impact of the demolition.

“It’s hard to demolish a building like this without making noise,” replied Rosenbloom adding that he would consult with his colleagues about possibly scheduling a window cleaning in the nearby apartment buildings.

Hughes noted that the noise is likely amplified as each floor is taken down, since the construction is occurring lower to the ground.

In attempt to prevent the dust from becoming airborne, Rosenbloom explained how the workers hose down the piles of concrete as they dismantle each floor of the building. Several misting nozzles inside the crusher also water down the material. Rosenbloom noted that the L.M.D.C. is expecting a higher read of the pollution levels as the construction approaches the ground level, where four air monitors are perched.

Hughes and Flynn requested a heightened level dust suppression as the project nears its end, and that the L.M.D.C. should be particularly scrupulous of the dust control once the outside temperatures drop below freezing.

“We’ll take the message back to ensure there is proper dust suppression on the project,” Rosenbloom replied. “Hopefully we won’t have ice problems,” he said, assuming the demolition will be completed before the “deep dark days” of winter in late January.

Air monitors surround the 130 Liberty site to track particulate matter and silica levels in the immediate atmosphere. Hughes also noted a lag time between the day the data is collected and the day it’s posted onto the L.M.D.C.’s website. Rosenbloom reported that the turnaround for posting the data typically takes four to five days.

“You can’t let this go into the community for [that long],” Kopel said. “This is going to be the second round of the 9/11 health scare.”

Kopel also expressed concern about the on-site construction workers’ exposure to the polluted air.

“They’re getting the full brunt of it,” he said, and should be wearing ventilation masks. Rosenbloom promised to check with the contractor to see if the workers have proper protection from the dust as they dismantle the building.

Also at the meeting, the Metropolitan Transit Authority gave its quarterly construction update on the Fulton Transit Center. The project is scheduled on time for completion by 2014. Both the transit center building and the Corbin building, currently under renovation, are aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The new entrance on William Street, the underground connection to the A/C and the 4/5 subway lines, and the southbound platform at the Cortlandt R station will be completed and publicly accessible by next year, according to the M.T.A. presentation.

Renovations to the 4/5 Fulton Street station and its new Dey Street entrance will be completed by 2012, as well as the Dey Street concourse and the new escalator to John Street. The restoration of the Corbin building, including its first-floor retail space, will be done by 2013.