LMDC to use $50M settlement to bankroll 14 public projects

The lawsuit against Lend Lease followed a fatal fire at the Deutsche Bank Building in FiDi

<em>Hudson River Park (inset: Lend Lease CEO Steve McCann)</em>
Hudson River Park (inset: Lend Lease CEO Steve McCann)

One year after Lend Lease agreed to pay $50 million to settle a lawsuit over the troubled Deutsche Bank Building, city and state officials have announced the funds will go toward 14 Lower Manhattan projects.

The settlement, reached in March 2015, included a payment of $40 million to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a $10 million forgiveness of payments owed by the corporation. Of the settlement, $10 million will be dedicated to completing an expansion of Hudson River Park From Chambers Street to West Houston Street, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a statement. Also, $7 million will go toward redeveloping Pier 42, $6 million to a playground at Battery Park and $4.8 million for a new community center at the South Street Seaport Museum.

The LMDC’s lawsuit stemmed from the construction company’s role in demolishing the Deutsche Bank Building. The project faced years of delays and cost overruns and in 2007, a fire broke out at the site, killing two firefighters. The incident caused a flurry of litigation and a criminal investigation. The widow of one of the firefighters sued Lend Lease and the city for alleged safety lapses at the site and ultimately received a $10 million settlement, the Daily News reported at the time. Lend Lease — then Bovis — ultimately wasn’t indicted and changed its name after the fire.

When asked to comment on the settlement disbursements, a Lend Lease representative said the company does not comment on litigation.

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Following the settlement agreement last year, LMDC formed a group of state and city officials to determine how the funds would be divvied up. In September, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and state Sen. Daniel Squadron called on LMDC to dedicate settlement funds to redeveloping Pier 42.

In 2011, Cuomo announced that he would wind down LMDC, a city-state agency created post Sept. 11. For now, it’s still kicking.

“The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has been a major force in the rebuilding for this community, and with these projects, this progress will continue for years to come,” Cuomo said in a statement.