Our City Since
The city’s ironworkers and carpenters have never much gotten along. Falling somewhere between rival sports teams and armies at war, the construction unions responsible for the city’s tall buildings rarely work together—office buildings are made from steel, apartments from concrete (which is poured by the carpenter’s union). “Is there ego? There is certainly pride amongst these unions, and not a little competition,” said Gary Higby director of industry development at the Steel Institute of New York, a trade group.
But 9/11 changed that, or at least the rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center did. It was not simply a matter of camaraderie but also necessity. “Obviously, what you had to do after 9/11 was address the fundamental question of how are we going to create buildings that are as safe as can be in a post-9/11 world,” said Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center Properties at Silverstein Properties. “The concrete core was probably the single most important of hundreds of safety innovations at 7 World Trade Center that went beyond code. It was a huge step forward for safety and structural robustness.”
The Building Congress yesterday came out with an understandably bleak construction report showing sluggish growth during the Great Recession in new office space, among other things, and not holding out too much hope for the rest of 2011. This year, in fact, will mark the first since 2000 with no new office tower opening.
But is that the worst thing in the world for commercial real estate here and for New York City in general?
Those who are stubbornly optimistic about the return of the Manhattan office market might want to take a close look at this report from the New York Building Congress.
It looks like major commercial development in Manhattan is still sluggish, which is no surprise considering the recent recession. In fact, the report blames the downturn in significant new office construction on the “dramatic decline in employment along with a sharp rise in office vacancies.”
Still, ever-positive as the Building Congress is, the trade group sees a silver lining to this slowdown.
As real estate prices in the city, or at least in Manhattan, approach pre-Lehman levels, and the wider economy teeters back from the brink, the guys who built the apartments are still suffering. According to a quarterly report from the New York Building Congress, employment for construction workers fell to its lowest level Read More
New York real estaters met at NYU’s Schack Institute on Wednesday morning for a brief breakfast forum on construction ethics. While the mafia wasn’t represented—possibly because of the mass arrests last month—their presence could’ve gone a long way to help filling up the empty seats.
“Here at New York University we’re trying to Read More
Across the city, hundreds of hammers are poised midair. Many believe that development will be frozen for years to come. But while the sight of New York City’s 600 stalled construction projects is difficult to ignore, those deep inside the industry say signs of a new boom are beginning to appear.
“It seems that there’s Read More
Only days before the streets of Cairo spilled over with anti-government protestors, Richard Anderson and his wife were nearing the tail end of a vacation in the Egyptian metropolis. With unrest already unspooling across Tunisia 800 miles to the west, the couple wondered aloud if something similar could happen in Egypt-and yet they Read More
Ask most New Yorkers how they feel about the acres of construction scaffolding encircling the city’s buildings, and they will respond with contempt. Short of keeping construction debris and rain off our heads, their main job is to annoy. Scaffolding blocks out the sun and the beautiful architecture. It makes jaywalking and tourist-passing all the Read More
Digging Out of the Hole
Rents are up. Subleases are down. The city, fairing better than most during the recession, appears well on its way to recovery, even if it will be a slow one. One sector that has yet to feel the pick up, though, is the construction industry, and it remains in a precarious position.
According to the Read More
If You Build It
Ever since construction on 1 World Trade Center surpassed street level and began its skyward march to 1,776 feet, complaints about the tower have (almost) entirely subsided. Despite all the work that took place underground on the 16-acre site, no one seemed convinced all the acrimony of the past few years would ever Read More