Deutsche Building Demolition Will Finish this YearJan 24, 2008
The demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building will be finished by the end of this year, and the contaminated structure is equipped with new safety measures, including a system to detect gaps in its water network such as was found after two firefighters were killed there last August, a state official said yesterday.
“It will happen this year,” Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman Avi Schick testified at a City Council hearing of the building’s razing. “That is the goal we are all working for.”
The LMDC has been meeting almost daily with federal, state and local fire, building safety and environmental regulators since the fire at 130 Liberty St. on Aug. 18. The fire remains under criminal investigation.
No demolition work has been done on the building, which was badly damaged and contaminated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, since the fire.
“Every day that 130 Liberty St. stands, it presents a hazard to its neighbors,” said Councilman Alan Gerson (D-Manhattan), chairman of the Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, which sponsored the hearing. “Each day this building remains unrazed, it delays overall progress on Ground Zero and the continued revitalization of downtown.”
Although Schick and the contractors hired by the LMDC to perform the decontamination and demolition were confident the job would be done by the end of 2008, Schick blanched at repeated requests from council members to predict when that work would start. “I don’t want to put a precise timetable on it,” Schick said. “I think it could be really, really soon.”
Several concrete slabs damaged in the August fire will be demolished and removed beginning Monday. That job, which should take between eight and 10 weeks, must be complete before the city Department of Buildings will allow the larger demolition project to proceed, officials said.
Schick also said that the agency has improved emergency safety at the site, including building two fire-safe staircases from the basement to the 20th floor. Officials also announced that they have installed a fire suppression system that can detect a gap in the building’s water network – or standpipe – which was not attached at the time of the August blaze.