Downtown Digest

NYLDC delays sale of Tower 4 bonds

The New York Liberty Development Corporation, which provides funding for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, has postponed the sale of $900 million in tax-exempt bonds that would have financed Tower 4.

According to a statement by Goldman Sachs Group, the bond issue was delayed because of “market conditions.”

“Silverstein Properties and the Port Authority anticipate selling the Tower 4 Liberty Bonds when conditions in the financial markets improve,” said spokesperson Bud Perrone, as reported by Bloomberg News.

The delay, according to Perrone, will not impact the completion of the tower, which is scheduled for 2013, along with Tower 3.

The N.Y.L.D.C. was issuing the debt on behalf of Silverstein Properties. The bonds were being backed by payments from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and fixed rents from a 15-year lease with the city.

W.T.C. developer Silverstein Properties had previously postponed the issuing of the bonds in December because of concerns about state and local government finances and high interest rates on municipal bonds.

A separate $375 million in floating-rate bonds, which Silverstein had planned to borrow as part of an $8 billion tax-exempt program to boost construction near the WTC site, is also being tabled.

Silver’s fight to save state rent regs

The NYS Assembly passed legislation on Monday intended to extend and bolster the city’s rent regulation laws that are otherwise due to expire on June 15.

The law is designed to protect millions of working New Yorkers in closing landlord loopholes that result in the loss of thousands of affordable apartments each year. The legislation would repeal vacancy decontrol, which allows landlords to deregulate apartments by charging monthly rents of $2,000 or more; reduce permissible rent increases when individual apartment improvements are made; and cap the required sum landlords collect major capital improvements to the actual cost of the renovations.

The law would also cut in half the percentage increase by which a landlord may raise rents of affordable housing units following a vacancy.

“The Assembly Majority remains committed to fighting for the rights of the tenants in our city, and we urge the State to quickly act on this legislation,” Silver said in a statement.

The current rent regulations, which were enacted in 1969 when rents were sharply rising in many post-World War II buildings, protect more than 2.5 million tenants statewide.

“As we face a housing crisis, we must preserve our limited affordable housing stock and make sure our working families can afford to live in New York City,” said Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez. “This legislation will help stabilize our working class neighborhoods when families are bearing the brunt of these uncertain economic times.”

Downtown BID launches new website

The Alliance for Downtown New York has launched a new, map-based website, www.downtownNY.com, as an information portal for local residents, workers and visitors.

The site offers a list of neighborhood services and amenities ranging from dry cleaners to Thai restaurants, as well as event spaces and tourist attractions. The search results are configured on maps using geo-coded data compiled from the Alliance’s database of local events, retailers and attractions.

The Alliance’s Twitter and Facebook feeds can now be viewed in real time on the new site’s homepage.

“Whether you’re an employee hankering for an Italian lunch spot, a resident looking for the perfect gift, a business traveler in need of a hotel, or a weekend visitor wondering what the cultural scene has to offer, www.downtownNY.com is the premier web destination for all things Lower Manhattan,” said Elizabeth Berger, president of the Alliance.

Additionally, the site prominently features the Alliance’s research statistics in its new “facts and figures” section, such as the number of firms that have relocated to Lower Manhattan and the number of residences in the area.

Each page on the site has two navigation menus to assist guide users. A top menu is arranged in the categories, “Things to Do,” Getting Around, “and Working and Living,” while another menu lets users search for nearby happenings or amenities using a map.

The site was created by the web design firm, I-Site.

Renaming Southern Manhattan

In an effort to rebrand the up-and-coming neighborhood he calls home, Downtown entrepreneur Sundeep Bhan has amassed a group of people seeking to nickname Downtown “SoMa,” an acronym for Southern Manhattan.

“As residents of Downtown Manhattan known as the ‘Financial District,’ we have seen some amazing changes over the past couple of years—so much so, that the transformation calls for a new name to our vibrant and ever-changing neighborhood,” according to the group’s website, www.ilovesoma.com.

The website continues, “As residents of this great neighborhood, we come together with the initiative to give our community a new identity to reflect the positive changes in our neighborhood.”

The website outlines the district’s diverse history spanning the reconstruction of southern Tribeca and east of Battery Park; to the growing popularity of Downtown nightlife on Stone St. and elsewhere.

“The days when only bankers and brokers roam the corridors and streets of this historic neighborhood are few and far between,” according to the website. “A new neighborhood is born with the spirit and energy of a new frontier.”