More Reforms at New Jersey School Construction
New reforms aim for more oversight
of the state's school construction unit. Also, additional
funds flow to capital projects in Lower Manhattan.
N.J. School Agency Again Revamped
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine established an independent post
on the board of directors of the state's Schools Construction
Corp. in yet another move to address the financial woes and
mismanagement that came to light last year at the troubled
agency, which was created in 2002 to develop and finance school
projects across the Garden State.
Corzine has replaced the state attorney general as a member
of the agency's board of directors with a member of his own
executive staff, Matthew Boxer, a former assistant U.S. attorney
in the special prosecution division of the U.S. Attorney's
office in New Jersey. The governor contended that the move
will facilitate review and investigations independent of the
school agency's governance.
The appointment follows a March report submitted by the Interagency
Working Group on School Construction, which Corzine established
earlier this year. After a month-long investigation, the group
recommended the eventual abolition of the schools agency and
the establishment of a new entity that would focus solely
on construction of school facilities and collaborate with
local districts, noting "that the SCC was not structured
in a manner that would allow it to concentrate primarily on
the construction of school facilities projects."
After completing far fewer projects than anticipated with
$6 billion expended so far, the school construction corporation
is still managing 128 projects valued at $3 billion, with
300 other projects awaiting funding. The agency's primary
charge was originally to develop new school projects in 31
Capital Funds for Lower Manhattan
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has awarded more than
$27 million dollars to 63 downtown cultural organizations,
with substantial funding allocated for capital projects.
With grants ranging from $25,000 to $2 million, the funds
will be used for programming, event organization, planning,
and construction and renovation. Among the largest capital
project awards were:
- $1 million to the Henry Street Settlement for renovations
to the organization's three theaters and an exterior amphitheater
on the Lower East Side
- $1.5 million to the National Museum of the American Indian's
George Gustav Heye Center, which will expand the museum's
space in the Financial District by a third
- and $2 million to the New Museum of Contemporary Art to
support the completion of a new seven-story building on
the Lower East Side.
Bloomberg Tower Makes Global Top Ten List
Manhattan's 731 Lexington Avenue was one of the world's top
ten tallest buildings completed in 2005, according to the
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It was the only
U.S. building to make the list.
The two separate buildings constituting the tower, which
serves as the headquarters of Bloomberg, the financial services
company, were designed by New Haven's Pelli Clarke Pelli &
Associates and New York's SLCE Architects for Vornado Realty
Trust of New York. The building rises 54 floors to 806 ft.,
coming in seventh on the list compiled by the council.
Bovis Lend Lease of New York was the general contractor on
the project, which began in 2001.
Shimao International Plaza in Shanghai, at 1,093 ft. high,
was the tallest building on the list. Five of the buildings
on the 2005 top ten list were constructed in China.
Saving Energy Pays Off for Credit
The installation of an ice storage-based air-conditioning
system at the American headquarters of Credit Suisse at 11
Madison Ave. in Manhattan appears to have paid off two-fold:
a reduced electric bill due to lower energy consumption during
peak hours and an $820,000 check from the New York State Energy
Research and Development Authority, which offers incentives
for energy conservation.
The Swiss bank's thermal storage system will reduce overall
electric usage by 2.15 million KWH, equivalent to planting
1.9 million acres of trees to absorb the carbon dioxide that
would be released due to power generation for one year, according
to the authority. The turnkey project cost $4 million and
is expected to save Credit Suisse more than $750,000 per year,
according to Trane, a division of American Standard Cos. of
Piscataway, N.J., which supplied the chillers for the project.
The system - developed by Trane and ECM, an energy market,
financial analysis, and procurement services firm based in
the United Kingdom - will effectively shift the building's
electrical demand on the existing power grid from peak to
Instead of drawing peak-hour power to cool the building,
the system will rely on three 800-ton Trane chillers and 64
storage tanks from CALMAC, an Englewood, N.J., manufacturer
of thermal energy storage and off-peak cooling equipment.
EYP Mission Critical Facilities, a New York-based consulting
engineering firm, provided mechanical engineering services.
CPC Funds Yonkers Senior Housing
A new $17 million project is transforming an abandoned industrial
site in Yonkers, N.Y., into 82 affordable apartments for seniors.
The 75,600-sq.-ft. Riverdale Senior Housing project at 185
Riverdale Ave. will offer one-bedroom units renting from $850
to $1,300 in an eight-story building. The Community Preservation
Corp. has provided $8 million in construction financing, with
Yonkers-based Glenman Construction serving as general contractor.
The City of Yonkers chipped in an additional $200,000 and
the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal
will provide $9 million of equity funding and low-income tax
credits. Construction broke ground this winter.