Lower Manhattan’s Fulton Center, where nine subway lines converge, reopened last month, more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks destroyed part of it. As many as 300,000 passengers a day are expected to pass through the station, the New York Times reported. The center features more than 60,000 square feet of commercial space, two-thirds of which is reserved for retail. Australian developer Westfield Group was tapped by the Metropolitan Transit Authority last year to handle the leasing. It is also handling leasing at the World Trade Center transit hub nearby. The Fulton Street hub was originally supposed to be completed in 2007, and cost $750 million; it took another seven years and cost $1.4 billion. In additional signs of the area’s rebirth, tenants began to move into One World Trade Center last month, and redevelopment is beginning just down the block at the South Street Seaport.
FEMA to audit city flood zones
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will perform an audit on the storm-proofing of 70,000 New York City properties, gauging their compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. The review, Crain’s reported, was triggered in part by a request from the city Buildings Department to explore joining a FEMA program called the Community Rating System, which grants discounts on flood insurance premiums to municipalities that exceed the minimum federal resiliency requirements. An analysis released by Comptroller Scott Stringer found that more than 84,000 city buildings, worth over $129 billion, lie in flood zones. In Brooklyn, the value of the buildings in those zones rose to $36 billion this year, from $12 billion in 2010.
Feds may probe Waldorf sale to Chinese
Potential security risks arising from Blackstone Group’s $1.95 billion sale of the Waldorf-Astoria to a Chinese company may get a federal government review.
The Stephen Schwarzman-led buyout house is even mulling asking the government to go ahead with an investigation, to speed up the sale, the New York Post reported. Blackstone-owned Hilton Worldwide Holdings said on Oct. 6 it will sell the Waldorf to Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group in the most expensive single hotel deal ever. The deal is supposed to close Dec. 31.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is split over whether the luxury hotel, home to the US ambassador to the United Nations and one of two NYC hotels considered safe enough for top-level officials like President Obama, poses any potential spying threat, the Post reported. The concern is that spies will have access to a location where world leaders hold top-secret discussions and much UN business is done.
City targets illegal apartments
The Buildings Department is cracking down on illegal apartment conversions, particularly in Queens, where half of all complaints originate. During the last fiscal year, 272 of the 278 warrants the city filed to force homeowners to provide access to their homes — after inspectors repeatedly couldn’t gain entry — were in Queens, DNAinfo reported. Homeowners may be slapped with penalties up to $25,000 for creating illegal basement apartments, creating a home in an area zoned for manufacturing or industrial uses, or dividing an apartment into single-room-occupancy units.