Rainbow Room to get landmark status?
The Landmarks Preservation Commission has agreed to review a proposal for the Rainbow Room to receive a rare interior landmark designation, the New York Times reported. The famous restaurant and nightclub, located on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, has been closed for three years after a dispute between landlord Tishman Speyer Properties and the Cipriani family, which ran the Rainbow Room. The Ciprianis applied for the landmark status before being evicted from the space in 2009. The Landmarks hearing is scheduled for this month. There are only around 114 New York City spaces designated as interior landmarks, including the lobby of the Empire State Building. If the Rainbow Room is given landmark status, any alterations to the space would require the commission’s approval, increasing its chances of remaining a restaurant. The New York Observer reported that the financial advisory firm Lazard has already leased the space that previously served as the Rainbow Room’s kitchen.
NYCHA promises change in wake of scandal
Following reports of problems at the New York City Housing Authority, two studies revealed dysfunction at the $3 billion-a-year agency, the New York Daily News reported. In response, NYCHA commissioner John Rhea last month promised sweeping reforms at the agency. Among the changes: The NYCHA board will be dismantled and two salaried mayoral appointees removed. Instead, the board will consist of Rhea and four unpaid members, including two housing project residents. NYCHA also promised to commit unspent funds to specific projects in the next 18 months, and to cut response repair time and upgrade security at housing projects. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, announced plans to give control of the Housing Authority’s day care and senior programs to other city agencies. Rhea also hired utility executive Cecil House to fill the long-vacant position of NYCHA general manager.
Fed auctions off last assets from AIG fund
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month sold $3.4 billion in “toxic” mortgage debt it inherited from American Insurance Group, Bloomberg News reported. The newly sold assets represent the last batch of funds from the notorious $62 million Maiden Lane III LLC fund. AIG recently received more than $6 billion in proceeds from auctions, and may soon get another $1.9 billion, helping CEO Robert Benmosche buy back shares from majority owner the U.S. Treasury Department. The New York Fed’s management of Maiden Lane III will result in a cumulative net gain to the public of some $6.6 billion, the bank said. The sale “marks the end of an important chapter, our assistance to AIG, that was undertaken to stabilize the financial system in the midst of the financial crisis,” said Federal Reserve Bank of New York president William Dudley.
EDC reaches deal for Pier 17
The Howard Hughes Corporation, the owner of South Street Seaport at Pier 17, announced last month that it has reached an agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation for a major overhaul of the pier, Crain’s reported. Hughes is planning a “complete transformation” of the pier, including a glass-enclosed retail space and a rooftop concert venue. The plan has now been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, with the support of Community Board 1, the company said. Construction is expected to start next year and be finished by 2015.