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NEW YORK CITY-Demolishing the 25-story Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty St. is on track for its scheduled demolition for the end of this year, says a source from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the state agency that owns the building and is in charge of demolition. The building is supposed to be brought down to make way for the construction of Tower 5 at the World Trade Center site, and the source says that while demolition is progressing, the first concern is safety.

Since the fire of August 18, 2007, the LMDC has worked closely with federal, state and city agencies to enhance safety conditions for first responders, workers and residents and to make modifications to the plan for abating the building. On Feb. 7, 2008 the LMDC received approval from 13 federal, state and city agencies for modifications to the plan for abating 130 Liberty St., including the decision to completely abate the building prior to deconstructing it. Following that approval, LVI Environmental Services Inc. has been working two shifts a day with approximately 150 to 200 workers in the building to prepare it for full abatement and clearance by environmental regulators.

The work completed by LVI includes the restoration of building enclosures, the construction of two interior fire-rated stairwells for use by first responders, the creation of emergency scaffold egress for the New York City Fire Department, the installation of a remote negative air cutoff switch, the fire-hardening of decontamination chambers and existing vestibules, the building of new fire control systems within the decontamination chambers, the shoring of slabs compromised in the fire and the installation of additional sidewalk sheds.

The source tells GlobeSt.com that the cost of the entire project including the buying of the building, insurance, maintenance costs of the site and more is approximately $280 million. The source notes that that price is not just for the abatement and deconstruction of the site, adding that the LMDC might be getting some of this money back.

“The real issue here is making sure cash flows, and the project doesn’t experience any delays because of money,” the source says. “We have certain agreements with the previous owners of the buildings and their insurers which require them to pay 75% of the current deconstruction cost, as well as claims against the contractors and others.”

The source continues that the issue is “for us to advance the funds necessary to complete the job without delay. We can not and will not allow the project to slow down one day while we wait for money.”

As for the current demolition schedule for the Deutsche Bank building, the source says that the goal the LMDC is working towards with the City and with the agency’s 13 regulatory partners is to have the building down by the end of the year. “We are working double shifts, six days a week with over 250 people in the building to insure that the building comes down as quickly but as safely as possible.”

The source tells GlobeSt.com that the in the abatement phase and once the building is fully abated, the agency we will begin the deconstruction phase. “This is part of the new process that grew out of discussions with the City and the regulatory agencies we work with, and is supported by the local community including the community board.”

As GlobeSt.com previously reported, Gov. David Paterson recently started to put pressure on the Port Authority’s timeline and budget for the WTC site, which includes Tower 5. Gov. Paterson is expecting the Port Authority to assess the WTC site reconstruction timeline and budget, demanding a “realistic and achievable schedule” by June 30th. Should the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building not follow its current timeline, it could affect the Port Authority’s reconstruction timeline. On Monday, June 30th, the Port Authority will hold a meeting of the World Trade Center Redevelopment Subcommittee and of the full Board, although recent reports have noted that the report to Gov. Paterson may not include a construction schedule due to “unanswered questions.”

An unnamed industry source, not involved in the demolition of the building but familiar with Downtown development, tells GlobeSt.com that should the Deutsche Bank building demolition be delayed, since it is self-contained, there might not be ripple effects due to any holdups. The source notes that the only delays would be to the new building going up on the same site.

The source tells GlobeSt.com that they question the economics of tearing down the building. “It seems to me that the building could have been effectively cleaned of asbestos and mold, stripped down to the steel skeleton, and reused with a new façade. I can’t imagine it ever being cheaper to demolish a structure and rebuild. The structure–whether it be concrete or steel–is the single largest cost of a building, with the façade usually being the second largest.”

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