Reconstruction Watch News Archive

In this archive:


Liberty Bond News

Community Development Block Grant news

LMDC news

Transportation news


12/03/2009  -- GJNY testified before the Liberty Development Corporation on the use of Liberty Bonds for the redevelopment of office towers at the World Trade Center site.

6/14/2007 -- City and State officials have stuck a deal with JP Morgan Chase to build a new office tower on the site of the Deutsche Bank building next to ground zero. It has been reported that Chase will pay the Port Authority $290 million for development rights, and that the bank will receive at least $230 million in tax breaks, discounted energy, and rent subsidies.

7/26/2006 -- The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation confirmed that it is in the process of being disbanded.  Officials claim that the LMDC mission is essentially accomplished and that unfinished business will be assumed by other agencies.  The LMDC not yet awarded the $45 million in ''community enhancement'' grants promised by Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in May 2005. 

7/13/2006 -- GJNY testifies before Congressional Committee on Homeland Security about the allocation of post-9/11 rebuilding funds.

5/26/2006 -- Gretchen Dykstra resigned as president and chief executive of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.  While the foundation will remain in tact, It was also recently announced that a new Memorial and Master Plan Design Committee, led by Frank J. Sciame, is to result by June 15 in recommended changes that will ensure a $500 million budget for the memorial; an opening on Sept. 11, 2009; and an adherence to the ''vision'' put forth by the architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker. 

5/17/2006 -- Mayor Bloomberg replaced Marc Shaw on the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation with Joshua Sirefman, the chief of staff for Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff.

4/26/2006 -- The Port Authority and developer Larry Silverstein agreed upon a "Conceptual Framework" for redevelopment of the World Trade Center site which reduces the role of Silverstein and features a set of new public sector commitments. 

Under the new arrangement, Silverstein retains the right to build three office towers but relinquishes control of two other buildings, including the Freedom Tower, to the Port Authority, along with a portion of his insurance proceeds.  Mr. Silverstein would split the remaining tax-exempt Liberty Bonds with the Port Authority, which would also receive $250 million from New York State to help finance the Freedom Tower.  In addition, the city and Port Authority committed to occupying over 1 million square feet of space in Silverstein’s new office towers, while Governor Pataki promised to find a million square feet of leases for the Freedom Tower.

11/16/2005 -- Mayor Bloomberg named four members of his administration and two executives to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board.  These appointees replace Stanley S. Shuman and Edward Lewis:

• Dan Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding

• Marc V. Shaw, Deputy Mayor for Operations 

• Amanda M. Burden, Chair of the City Planning Commission

• Martha E. Stark, Commissioner of the Department of Finance 

• William C. Rudin, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York

• Lawerence Babbio Jr., Vice Chairman and President of Verizon 

Within hours, Governor Pataki appointed two members of his administration to the board: 

• Charles Gargano, Chair of the Empire State Development Corporation 

• James Kallstrom, Senior Adviser for Counterterrorism 

Pataki still has one vacant seat on the LMDC board. 

11/8/2004   --  Pataki still has one vacant seat on the LMDC board. City Council holds hearing on proposal to convert unused WTC Tax Credits to resources for a rail link to JFK Airport and Long Island. Read GJNY's testimony (November 8, 2004) 



Liberty Bond News:

Liberty Bonds at-a-glance! View our breakdown of city and state allocations.

Public hearings for Liberty Bond projects held by the New York State Liberty Development Corporation (subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation):

8/2/2006 -- The Liberty Development Corporation gave final authorization for $57 million of Liberty Bonds for the National Sports Museum, a for-profit museum which will be located at 26 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

9/26/2005 -- The Liberty Development Corporation unanimously approved the allocation of $1.65 billion in Liberty Bonds for Goldman Sachs, with the city and state agreeing to split the cost.

8/23/2005 -- The Battery Park City Authority approved the lease arrangement for Goldman Sachs' proposed headquarters, to be located on Site 26 of Battery Park City. 

8/15/05 -- The Liberty Development Corporation gave preliminary approval for the allocation of $1.65 billion in Liberty Bond financing for a new Goldman Sachs headquarters to be located across the street from the former World Trade Center site.  So far, no documentation has been provided regarding the specifics of the agreement. 

9/23/04 -- Proposal to authorize $1 billion in commercial Liberty Bonds for Goldman Sachs to build a new headquarters at site 26 in Battery Park City. 5:30 - 7:30 pm at St. Johns University, 101 Murray Street, Room 118. Read testimony from Good Jobs New York.

POSTPONED as of October 1st -- Proposal to authorize $243 million in commercial Liberty Bonds for Forest City Ratner to develop office space in a mixed-use project on Beekman Street by Pace University. (The project is also applying for Liberty Bonds for housing.) 5:30 - 7:30 pm at St. Johns University, 101 Murray Street, Auditorium.

Liberty Bonds Transform Downtown, Pushing Prices Up and Poor and Middle Class Out

May 30th - The New York Times

5/11/04 -- The Senate passed its version of the corporate tax bill, including a five year extension for Liberty Bonds, which had previously been scheduled to sunset at the end of 2004. The provision must still pass in the House.

4/19/04 -- A mixed-use Forest City Ratner project involving Pace University and NYU Downtown hospital is seeking up to $374 million in Liberty Bonds and up to $10 million in tax breaks for a development to be designed by Frank Gehry. 

The project is proposed to include a luxury apartment tower, retail space, a parking garage, an art gallery, a hospital and a dormitory. The developer will seek up to $243 million in commercial Liberty Bonds from the NYS Liberty Development Corporation and up to $131 million in Liberty Bonds for housing from the NYC Housing Development Corporation. 

The NYC Industrial Development Agency is scheduled to hold a public hearing JULY 8th on proposed property tax breaks for the project, under the name FC Beekman. 

Read about this project in The New York Times (5/19/04). 

3/18/04 -- The NYS Liberty Development Corporation will sell up to $700 million in taxable bonds to finance a controversial private power plant in Astoria. The company hopes to refinance $400 million of that amount with tax-exempt Liberty Bonds sometime in the next few months.

  • Liberty Development Corporation gave preliminary approval to $400 million in Liberty Bonds for a power plant in Astoria on 12/11/03 following a 12/8/03 public hearing, despite strong opposition from local elected officials.
  • U.S. Rep. Amo Houghton, R-N.Y., and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. introduced a bill to extend the Liberty Bond program to 2009, transfer some bonds from commercial to residential use, and remove size restrictions for utility projects. The bill, introduced in November, 2003, does not include any provisions for affordable housing. Read text here.
  • The Liberty Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, approved $38.9 million in commercial Liberty Bonds for a hotel and restaurant developed by actor Robert DeNiro at 377 Greenwich Street on Thursday, November 13th. The public hearing for this project was Monday, November 11th. 

11/18/03 -- US Congressional representatives Houghton and Rangel introduce a bill to extend the use of Liberty Bonds. The bill does not include any language on affordable or mixed-income housing.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) news: 

TOTAL REMAINING: $1.161 billion (as of June 11, 2004) (Of this amount, $283 million has been proposed for Partial Action Plans not yet given final approval by HUD. This leaves $878 million in wholly unrestricted funds.) 

View a detailed breakdown of funds by Partial Action Plan

Latest news: 

10/26/05 -- Read the LCAN/GJNY testimony regarding LMDC Partial Action Plan No. 10. 

4/27/05 --The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will hold a public hearing on how to spend its remaining Community Development Block Grant funds on Wednesday, April 27th 6:00 pm 

6/2/04 -- LMDC board authorizes the release of Partial Action Plan No. 8 on WTC memorial and cultural programming. 

4/16/04 -- LMDC releases Partial Action Plan No. 7 for public comment. The Plan was submitted to HUD for final approval on May 18, 2004. 

1/22/04 -- LMDC releases Partial Action Plan No. 6 for public comment. The Plan would provide $50 million to subsidize 300 middle-income rental apartments in Lower Manhattan. Although the public comment period has closed, the Plan has not yet been submitted to HUD for final approval. 

9/18/03 -- The LMDC releases Partial Action Plan No. 5 on tourism in Chinatown and communication about Lower Manhattan development. Click here to read comments by the Labor Community Advocacy Network (LCAN) and the Liberty Bond Housing Coalition. 

9/8/03 -- The New York Times releases an investigative report showing that wealthy traders and stock brokers benefited disproportionately from the Business Recovery Grants given out in the aftermath of the attacks. 

8/7/03 -- The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released $54 million in additional funds to fill out the small business attraction and retention program that had left almost two thousand applicants approved but without checks for many months. Up to $90 million was also released for streetscape improvements. 

7/10/03 -- Members of the Labor Community Advocacy Network (LCAN) took the issue of job creation to the July Lower Manhattan Development Corporation with a press conference. Inside the board room, activists held signs calling for funding for the "Liberty Jobs" program. A coalition member from Community Voices Heard spoke up during the press Q & A period, asking how many jobs would be created from the money that had been allocated that morning. LMDC president Kevin Rampe responded that he had no specific job numbers, but that each program the board approved did have an "economic impact" component.  

The event at the LMDC board is one of several leading up to a July 28th accountability session  to urge public officials to implement the Liberty Jobs plan.  

6/12/03 -- Liberty Bond Housing Coalition members hold press conference and stage a silent demonstration at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's June board meeting. Participants urged the LMDC to commit funds to make Liberty Bond financed housing developments mixed-income. 

Read statements from:

Assemblymember Scott M. Stringer

City Councilmember Alan J. Gerson

Victor Bach, Senior Housing Policy Analyst of the Community Service Society

Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York 

3/17/03 -- The Labor Community Advocacy Network and the Liberty Bond Housing Coalition submit a joint comment on revised Partial Action Plan No. 3. 

11/27/02 -- The New York Board of Trade was approved for a $23.3 million CDBG grant under the WTC Job Creation and Retention Program in May of 2002. Read coverage of this and other retention grants in a recent Newsday article. View the complete list attached to revised Reconstruction Watch publication #4.  

10/29/02 -- American Express, which received $25 million in CDBG cash last June as part of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's "business retention" program, announced that its profits doubled in the last three months, according to the Daily News. Since the end of 2000, American Express has laid off 13,800 employees, or almost 16% of its workforce.   

8/15/02 -- Applications for Residential Grant Program are now available at the LMDC website in English, Spanish, and Chinese.    

8/14/02 -- Increased appropriations announced at LMDC Board meeting: An additional $783 million in HUD-facilitated CDBG funds was approved by the Federal government on August 2nd. This amount includes $33 million earmarked specifically to attract businesses back that left after September 11th.   

8/1/02 -- Third round of "business retention" deals includes $40 million for The Bank of New York.  

6/5/02 -- "Amended Action Plan for New York Business Recovery and Economic Revitalization" released.

6/3/02 -- Second round of "business retention" deals:

Our decision to return downtown, which has been our home for more than 150 years, was not predicated on financial incentives . . . Once those financial incentives became available, we chose to participate, as did other companies. -- Tony Mitchell, spokesman for American Express, as quoted in Newsday exclusive, June 3, 2002. 

Second round - company names and amounts (including American Express)
First round - company names and amounts

LMDC News 

Former NYSE chair Richard Grasso resigns from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation board Friday October 17th, following his forced resignation in September from leadership at the Stock Exchange due to outrage over his $187.5 million pay package. Click here to read more about the failed $1.1 billion subsidy deal Grasso attempted to negotiate with the city prior to September 11, 2001. 

Kevin Rampe named new President in June 2003 

LMDC announced plans to spend approximately $935 million on:

Utilities & infrastructure ($750 million),

Planning, small capital projects, & business grants ($152 million), and

Grants to 9/11 firms with disproportionate loss of workforce ($33 million) 


President Lou Tomson departs LMDC staff in February 2003  

Governor Pataki appoints final LMDC board member:

Thomas S. Johnson, the CEO and Chairman of Greenpoint Financial, formerly president and director of Chemical Bank and subsequently of Manufacturers Hanover. Mr. Johnson is also a family member of a victim of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Mayor Bloomberg appoints four new members to the LMDC board:

Sally Hernandez-Piñero, an attorney who formerly served as deputy mayor for economic development under David N. Dinkins;

Billie Tsien, of the architecture firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates;

E. Stanley O'Neal, president and chief operating officer of Merrill Lynch; and

Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the business improvement district. 

Read an archived article in The New York Times about the LMDC board's April 9th meeting as well as the new appointees.



Transportation News

WTC Tax Credits to be Converted to Transportation Resources?

November 8, 2004 - City Council holds public hearing on proposal to use converted unused WTC tax credits for a rail link to JFK Airport and Long Island. Read GJNY's testimony.

October 7, 2004 - Proposal to convert WTC Tax Credits to transportation resources blocked by House Republicans.

July 29, 2004 - State and city officials and downtown real estate interests continue to push for funds for Long Island/JFK rail link.