Deutsche Bank Tower Cleanup at WTC Forges Ahead; Removal to Follow

After a nearly 10-month delay that followed a fatal fire last summer, cleanup of the contaminated Deutsche Bank building at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan is proceeding full speed ahead, a top Downtown official said yesterday. At a meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., board chairman Avi Shick said that contractors should finish cleanup of the contaminated dust in the former Deutsche Bank by the end of the year. Work resumed last month on the deconstruction of the tower at the southern end of the World Trade Center, which was damaged beyond repair in the 2001 terrorist attacks. The deaths of two firefighters in a fire last August caused LMDC to terminate the contract of John Galt Co., the original subcontractor for the demolition, and institute a host of new safety features. When new contractor LVI Environmental Services Inc. will be able to finish the unusual and extraordinarily complex removal of the building–also known as 130 Liberty Street–may be less certain. Instead of attempting to clean the structure and taking it apart at the same time, as John Galt was doing, LVI Environmental will complete the cleanup before resuming deconstruction. But LMDC’s goal for taking the tower down continues to be the end of 2008, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed. The building’s removal is of keen interest to Downtown Manhattan, and not only because it is a stark reminder of the terrorist attacks. Last year JPMorgan Chase announced intentions to build a headquarters for its investment banking business on the site after the tower is removed. JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of Bear, Stearns & Co. a few months ago raised questions as to whether the new tower would be needed. But both publicly and privately, JPMorgan Chase continues to assert its commitment to the site, even if the project is modified. In order to address a cash-flow issue, the LMDC board agreed to advance the project $37.5 million from a $750 million funding pot dedicated to utilities. Details are still under discussion, but LMDC expects to replace the borrowed money and other funds from the building’s insurers. They are liable for 75 percent of the cost of deconstruction above $45 million.To Blog and Comment Click Here