December 12, 2002
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG OUTLINES VISION
FOR 21st CENTURY LOWER MANHATTAN
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today outlined his vision for Lower Manhattan which included proposals for opening the waterfront to the public, increasing affordable housing, and ensuring Lower Manhattan's future as a leader in the global economy. The Mayor's vision calls for 21st century transportation links to mass transit and commuter rails as well as one-seat rides to the area's international airports; the creation of two anchors for residential areas, Fulton Market Square and Greenwich Square; a proposal to create a new tax incentive zone to spur the relocation of foreign multinational corporations head-quarters to the area; and initiatives to create new and improved public places/streetscapes within a loop linking the neighborhood's residential areas, plazas, and cultural institutions. The premise of the Mayor's plan is to make visionary use of the City's resources in the transformation of Lower Manhattan. The Mayor described his vision at the Association for a Better New York breakfast at the Regent Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
"No matter how magnificent the best design for the sixteen acres of the World Trade Center site proves to be, it must be complemented by an equally bold vision for all of Lower Manhattan - a new beginning - that meets the needs of all of New York City and of the entire region," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The time has come to restore Lower Manhattan to its rightful place as a center of innovation and make it a 'Downtown for the 21st Century'."
The Mayor outlined three types of investments the City must make including those that connect Lower Manhattan to the world around it, those that build new neighborhoods, and those that create appealing public spaces.
CONNECTING LOWER MANHATTAN
The Mayor stressed that transportation enhancements are pivotal to the City's plans to make downtown more accessible to residents, employees and visitors. Initiatives embraced by the City include:
"Lower Manhattan's competition to be a global center isn't just Midtown or even Chicago or Los Angeles. Increasingly, it is London and Berlin and Hong Kong. In this worldwide competition, easy access becomes more and more important. We must invest in making downtown more accessible - both to the rest of the world, and to residents of the metropolitan region," Mayor Bloomberg said.
BUILDING NEW NEIGHBORHOODS
The Mayor proposed targeted investments to catalyze the creation of two exciting new neighborhoods south of Chambers Street - one near Fulton Street, east of Broadway and the other, south of Liberty Street, west of Broadway; lay the groundwork for the private sector's construction of 10,000 new units of housing in Lower Manhattan; the transformation of West Street into a tree-lined boulevard; and greater links to Lower Manhattan's neighbors of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
"While the number of people who live below Chambers Street has grown significantly, other than Battery Park City, for most residents there are no real supermarkets, not enough open space and not enough schools. With targeted investments, we can catalyze the creation of two exciting new neighborhoods south of Chambers Street - one near Fulton Street, east of Broadway and the other, south of Liberty Street, west of Broadway," Mayor Bloomberg said.
CREATING NEW PUBLIC PLACES
Lower Manhattan would be linked together by a loop, marked by public spaces, running from the Battery, up Water Street to the South Street Seaport, across a revived Fulton Street to West Street and down a tree-lined West Street back to the Battery. More than twenty cultural institutions that already exist downtown today would line the 2.2-mile loop, creating a critical mass to draw tourists from around the world.
"New York is New York because it has majestic places open to the public that convey the unique thrill of being here. The City could expand out onto the river, creating something new on every one of these harbor-side city blocks. New cultural institutions, surrounded by playgrounds, ballfields, open grass, and apartments could look out across the harbor. And anchoring the residential and commercial neighborhoods, and the restored streets, would be a memorial that would put a physical shape to our grief and to our hopes for the future, and give us somewhere we can come together to share our thoughts and reflections on how September 11th affected our lives," Mayor Bloomberg said.
LOWER MANHATTAN: WHERE THE WORLD DOES BUSINESS
The Mayor stated unequivocally that Lower Manhattan's future as a hub of business and commerce is bright and proposed an incentive program to get international companies to locate to the area. The Mayor also proposed the use of insurance proceeds to lower rents, and the completion of new commercial construction with tax-free Liberty Bonds.
"By providing foreign corporations with a compelling incentive to locate in Lower Manhattan, we strengthen the United States' status as the world's business leader," continued Mayor Bloomberg. "This initiative presents us with a singular opportunity to honor the victims of September 11th - many of whom worked for international companies and hailed from ninety-two countries - by creating a uniquely global business destination."
The Mayor estimated the total cost of the plan at $10.6 billion. Most of those funds - $8.8 billion - would go to infrastructure including the connection to John F. Kennedy Airport. Of the funds received from the federal government, $5.9 billion would be used for this plan. Proceeds from the sale of real estate development rights over the transit hub, from Greenwich Square, the East River Waterfront Park, and Fulton Market Square, and taxes from construction at the World Trade Center site itself can also be used to fund the investments.
"If successful, these public investments will spark a chain of private market reactions over the next ten years. The number of new jobs downtown will be twice what it would have been, justifying the need for ten million square feet of new commercial space throughout all of Lower Manhattan. New companies, in a range of industries, will grow downtown - strengthening the existing financial nerve center - while diversifying it," concluded the Mayor.
The Mayor's Office would like to thank the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) for hosting today's breakfast. ABNY has served for over 30 years as a civic organization, working to bring business, political, labor, community and non-profit leaders together to address problems facing the economic and social well being of the City. Under the leadership of William Rudin, son of ABNY founder Lewis Rudin, the organization continues to carry out its mission by providing forums and programs that work to make New York a better place to live, work, and visit.
Note: Ten slide images from the Mayor's presentation can be accessed at www.nyc.gov/photowire.
/ Jennifer Falk