Downtown Digest, week of March 7, 2012

Court ruling leaves displaced tenants hopeful

Last Friday, Housing Court Judge Timmie Erin Eisner ruled against the owner of one the three buildings on Grand Street in Chinatown that were destroyed by a fire in 2010.

Wong’s Realty Corp., the owner of 289 Grand St., said it would cost over $7 million to repair the building. However, officials with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development determined that number was too high and estimated reconstruction costs to be roughly $2.3 million.

A total of 200 tenants were displaced following the blaze. The other two buildings were deemed destabilized by city inspectors and were demolished.

In a statement, NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called it a “great victory for [the tenants] and for everyone who has consistently fought for the protection and preservation of affordable housing” in Chinatown and throughout the city.

“From the moment this tragic fire struck almost two years ago, we have been fighting tirelessly for the right of the tenants who were displaced from 289 Grand Street to return to their homes,” said Silver. “They have suffered enormously and they have waited long enough.”

Pre-K admissions process begins

Parents can now pick up the official 2012-13 pre-kindergarten directory at any public school with a pre-k program, any borough enrollment office, or they can download the directory at  www.schools.nyc.gov/prek.

Applications can be submitted in person or online, and parents will be notified by early June about public school placements.

Pre-school information sessions will also be held for families wishing to learn more about the process and to speak with representatives from the Office of Student Enrollment and the Office of Early Childhood Education. The Manhattan session will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 at the High School of Fashion Industries at 225 W. 24th St.

 One W.T.C. plan to install antenna

The Durst Organization, the leasing agent of One World Trade Center, hopes to mount a broadcast antenna atop the tower in order to be able to draw T.V. and radio stations that are currently broadcasting from the Empire State Building, according to a March 6 Associated Press report.

If the plan goes through, Durst anticipates to make approximately $10 million annually in broadcast-related fees and has ambitions to become the leading broadcast facility in New York, according to the report.