Government briefs

Bedford-Union Armory
Bedford-Union Armory

EDC solicits proposals for Crown Heights armory

The city’s Economic Development Corporation is seeking a developer to transform the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights into a community center, the Daily News reported. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose office has pledged $1 million in capital funds for the project, is among the local politicians who’ve called for the 150,000-square-foot facility to house a range of athletic facilities, such as a skating rink, swimming pools, running tracks and gymnasiums; it could also include art exhibition space. Built in 1903, the Bedford-Union Armory has sat vacant since 2011. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo turned over the property to the city in August. Developers wishing to buy or lease the space must submit proposals by Jan. 23, 2014.

New WTC walkway to cost $225M to build

Dubbed “the world’s most expensive hallway,” the World Trade Center Transportation Hub’s newly opened West Concourse cost $225 million to construct, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told the website Next City. The high-concept underground pedestrian walkway is 100 feet long, and connects Brookfield Place, formerly the World Financial Center, with the World Trade Center PATH terminal. The passageway can now be accessed via the temporary PATH station. The entire $4 billion Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation hub is slated for completion in mid-2015.

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Bernanke will continue bond-buying program

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged last month to continue the bond-buying responsible for record low interest rates, a move that could see interest rates hover at around the 4 percent mark until early next year. Demand for properties fell after Bernanke’s remarks in May that the stimulus program would begin to wind down, but the latest announcement could reverse that trend. “It’s clear the Fed became concerned about housing over the past month, and that’s why it came out so firmly on the side of bond buying,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, told Bloomberg News in November. “After months of talking about ending the program, the statement was crystal clear it would continue.”

Union deal paves way for Staten Island project

A last-minute concession from unions solidified Staten Island’s largest development deal in half a century. The agreement is expected to cut the developer’s construction costs some 20 percent. In exchange, developer BFC Partners will hire union workers for the entire $580 million St. George waterfront project, Crain’s reported. The development, which will include an outlet shopping center and the world’s tallest observation Ferris wheel, was approved by the New York City Council in October. The Bloomberg administration, eager for a legacy project on Staten Island, also played a role in pushing for the labor pact and offering up tax breaks. BFC, which has already poured some $6 million into the outlet mall portion of the project, took on more risk and higher costs than it said was tolerable. Developer Richard Marin will be responsible for erecting the Ferris wheel at the site.