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Thread: Liberty Bonds

  1. #1
    Banned Member
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    Default Liberty Bonds

    From Crain's NY:

    Projects get preliminary OK for Liberty Bonds

    by Wendy Blake

    Two residential development projects received preliminary approval for tax-exempt Liberty Bonds from the state Housing Finance Agency on Thursday.

    The bonds, intended as an economic stimulus to lower Manhattan after Sept. 11, are being sought by Albanese Development Corp. for a 231-unit multifamily rental building in Battery Park City, and by DeMatteis Organization for a similar, 346-unit project in TriBeCa, at 88 Leonard St. The developers have applied for $98 million and $105 million, respectively.

    The disbursement of the bonds now goes before local planning boards for approval, says a spokeswoman for HFA. Four other projects have already received mortgage commitments from the state, which has $800 million in Liberty Bonds to dole out.

    Community advocates, who say that bond recipients should be required to reserve more housing for moderate- and low-income residents, are gearing up to oppose the allocations. "Cops and firefighters and teachers can't live in these developments," says Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York. "Why are 9/11 resources going to them?"
    Copyright 2003, Crain Communications, Inc

  2. #2

    Default Liberty Bonds for 2 new Downtown Residential Projects

    #Moderation Mode

    <a href="" target="_self">Moved here</a>

  3. #3
    Banned Member
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    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default More Liberty Bond Applicants

    New projects seek Liberty Bonds

    by Wendy Blake

    Six new residential projects are seeking more than $700 million in tax-free Liberty Bond financing from the city. The projects include a conversion of 29 upper floors of the Woolworth Building by the Witkoff Group and Cammeby's Management, creating 145 units; the construction of a 373-unit building at 15 William St. by Fraydun Manocherian; a conversion of 10 Hanover Square by the Witkoff Group; the construction of a 551-unit building at a site on West Street between Chambers and Warren streets by Jack Resnick & Sons; the conversion of 63 Wall St. to a 475-unit property by Nathan Berman and Ronald Bruckner; and the conversion of a 10-story building at 5 Beekman St. to a 127-unit property by Cammeby's.

    On Tuesday, the city is expected to approve Liberty Bond financing for a 386-apartment building at 90 Washington St., whose developers are seeking $82 million.

    Liberty Bonds were created by the federal government after Sept. 11 to revitalize downtown. The city has the authority to distribute $800 million for residential projects.
    Copyright 2003, Crain Communications, Inc

  4. #4
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    New York City

    Default More Liberty Bond Applicants

    The Woolworth is partially converting to residential? *Cool! *I'll bet the views will be fantastic, though I hope the new residents don't push for turning off the floodlights at night.

  5. #5

    Default More Liberty Bond Applicants

    Does anyone know how big the site of 15 William Street is?
    The 551 unit building bounded by West, Chambers, and Warren Streets is proposed to be a 460,000-square-foot, 40 story, 408 foot tower designed by Lord Norman Foster. The rendering of the squat 135 foot building previously proposed at the site is here. \

    Across the street, where 270 Greenwich Street is proposed, the city wants to oust Minskoff and build a residential tower up to 700 feet tall.

    90 Washington Street is a 26 story tower developed by the Moinian Group.

    Also at 88 Leonard Street is a 346 unit tower being developed by the DeMatteis Organization.

    When I post my list you'll see just how many buildings are going up in downtown. I'm still not done databasing it *but so far I have 250 buildings over 12 stories that are proposed or completed since 1999. I still have the ~100 buildings U/C to go.

    (Edited by Derek2k3 at 1:25 pm on June 4, 2003)

    (Edited by Derek2k3 at 12:31 am on July 24, 2003)

  6. #6

    Default More Liberty Bond Applicants

    Here's the article where I got some info from.

    From The Tribeca Trib

    City Plans 40-Story Tower on Site 5C

    by Ronald Drenger

    A second front has just opened in the battle against large-scale development near P.S. 234.
    The city told Downtown community leaders last month that it wants to construct a 40-story residential tower with 540 apartments on the city-owned lot, known as Site 5C, behind P.S. 234 and across the street from P.S./I.S. 89 and Washington Market Park. The proposed building is three times as tall as the previous design for the site.

    Community leaders were already prepared to fight the city’s plans to put up a huge building on Site 5B, across Warren Street from P.S 234. For that site, the city wants to oust Edward J. Minskoff, whom it chose in April 2001 to develop a 600-foot commercial building, and find a new developer for what could be an even taller residential tower, up to 700 feet, according to community board representatives who were briefed by city officials.

    On Site 5C, bounded by Chambers, West and Warren streets, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and developer Scott Resnick want to put up a 460,000-square-foot building designed by Norman Foster, the British architect who was a finalist in the design competition for the World Trade Center site.

    The community representatives say that the development, like the one proposed for Site 5B, would bring stifling congestion to the area, overburden local resources and cast shadows on Washington Market Park. They are urging the city to modify the plans and up for a fight if it refuses.

    “We’ve gone from a 135-foot building,” said Madelyn Wils, chairwoman of Community Board 1, referring to a prior plan, “to a 408-foot building, an attractive-looking building but one that is completely out of context with the rest of the neighborhood,”

    The community has fought many proposals for Site 5B that were later abandoned. But with so much energy being focused on the redevelopment of Downtown, and the Bloomberg administration’s desire to create thousands of new housing units in the area, the city is expected to push hard to bring the latest plans to fruition.

    The previous, smaller project for Site 5C, also with Resnick as the developer, was in the works when the terrorist attack occurred. But in January 2002, the 40-year-old Washington Street Urban Renewal Plan, which limited the size of development on the site, expired, allowing for a much taller building.

    The 40-story tower, slightly taller than the Independence Plaza buildings, would be along West Street. It is taller than would be allowed under current zoning, but the city wants to give Resnick the extra height in exchange for creating a 12,000-square-foot public plaza on the Warren Street side of the site. The building’s east wing, along Chambers Street and next to P.S. 234, would be 94 feet high.

    As in Resnick’s earlier plan, the building would include an 18,000-square-foot community center, with a gym in the basement and offices and classrooms on the second or third floors. A pedestrian path would run through the building from the plaza to Chambers street, and there would be 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and underground parking for 114 cars.

    Community board members who met with EDC officials and Resnick said that they had several major concerns, first and foremost that the development is much too big.

    “You’re bringing 500 or more new units right square onto probably the busiest block of Tribeca,” said Bernard D’Orazio, a CB1 member and president of Save Our Space, a group that has opposed large developments on Site 5B. “We would like to significantly reduce the height of the building.”

    The project’s possible impact on nearby local schools is likely to spark heated opposition.

    “It’s going to overpower the school,” said George Olsen, who has been PTA president at P.S. 234 for the past two years. The city’s plans, which he called “shortsighted and greedy,” will “choke and choke and choke the neighborhood until it’s not livable anymore,” he said.

    At both P.S. 234 and P.S. 89 there are grave concerns about classroom space. Olsen said that P.S. 234’s enrollment for September is already 60 students over capacity and more registrations are expected.

    “We’ve become this little community that is going to be so overcrowded and hemmed in by these big buildings,” said P.S. 89 principal Ronnie Najjar. “We can’t accommodate that many new families.”

    Shadows, particularly on Washington Market Park, are another concern. “By about three in the afternoon, depending on the time of year, there would be a shadow covering the heart of the park,” D’Orazio said.

    The project will require an extensive public review (the Universal Land Use Review Procedure, known as ULURP) and an environmental impact study; the meetings last month were the start of negotiations between the EDC, Resnick and community leaders, who said they were pleased that the city sought their input.

    “I think they want to see if they can resolve some issues, bridge some of the gaps, before they formally start the review process,” said Paul Goldstein, CB1’s district manager.

    Wils said that the community is interested in cooperating with the EDC and Resnick, but that there need to be “major changes” in the project.

    “I’m hoping that they are willing to work with us in way that’s meaningful,” she said. “But whether or not that happens, we will be prepared to do what we have to do.”

    She was disappointed when the city informed her late last month that a public scoping meeting, a prelude to the environmental impact study, scheduled for June 26 (see Community Calendar, page 18) will be based on the original plan, without any modifications requested by the community. The community board was planning to encourage residents to speak at the meeting against the project’s size.

    In response to questions about community worries, EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson said, “That’s what the public process and the scoping session are intended for, to hear the community’s concerns.” Resnick declined to comment on the project.

    The developers probably will apply for Liberty Bonds, a program set up after Sept. 11 to encourage Downtown development. In this case, the building plan, including a completed public review, must be in place by the program’s deadline at the end of next year.

    Bob Townley, director of Manhattan Youth, which runs most children’s programs Downtown, including after-school programs and activities on Pier 25, hopes to manage the community center in Resnick’s building. He said it should be a partnership with other community-service organizations, arts groups and schools in the neighborhood that need space.

    Townley said he would like to see a pool added to the community center plans, but that he was not involved in the discussions with the EDC.

    For Site 5B, now a parking lot and one of the most valuable city-owned properties in Manhattan, if the EDC does scrap Minskoff’s commercial project, it would then request new proposals from other developers for a residential building. Minskoff’s plan would join a long list of abandoned proposals for the site, from a southern sister for the Independence Plaza North residential complex to offices for the now-defunct Drexel Burnham Lambert financial firm and a new building for the Mercantile and Commodities Exchanges.

    But in a brief phone interview on May 30, Minskoff said that he was still planning to develop the site. “We’ve been meeting with the EDC and working closely with them on our plan,” he said. He added that “there will be some modifications” in the project and that the building would be “mixed-use,” but declined to discuss details.

    Last summer, while CB1 and Tribeca residents were rallying in opposition, Minskoff was aggressively seeking tenants for his 600-foot office building, which he promised to start building this spring. The community plans to similarly oppose the city’s new plan for a massive residential tower.

    “I don’t care who the developer is, as long as we get something we can work with here,” Wils said. “We cannot work with something that big.”

    Goldstein questioned whether city officials, in their rush to bring residents Downtown, were taking quality-of-life issues into account. “On one hand, we want more residents in Lower Manhattan, but on the other hand, we want to make sure we can maintain our community as a very desirable place to live. So it’s a balancing act.”

  7. #7

    Default 38 stories at 15 William St


    In the heart of the Financial District, a new luxury rental tower at 15 William Street is being erected. Neighboring downtown's hallmark eatery Delmonico's and the bustling restaurant strip on Stone Street, the high rise will be nestled at the four-point intersection where William, South William, and Beaver Streets meet.

    Bovis Lend Lease, the company managing the building’s construction, has yet to finalize the designs for 15 William Street. Currently, city Department of Buildings permits issued for the building allow it to rise to 38 stories and be home to 345 apartments. More details about this building construction will be posted here as they become available.

  8. #8


    I work right near 15 William and it could definitely support fairly large office size floor plates, not just smaller residential size.

  9. #9


    Downtown Express
    Volume 17, Number 51 | May 13 - 19, 2005
    Downtown Homes and Lofts

    Construction begins on latest Liberty Bond project

    Downtown Express photos by Milo HessConstruction work at William and Beaver Sts., being developed by the Manocherian Organization


    There’s more evidence residential development is returning to Lower Manhattan nearly four years after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

    But at least one group is concerned that new incentives to develop the area is a ploy to introduce luxury residences that will eventually squeeze out middle-income residents.

    Excavation and construction is planned for “The William” at 15 William St., just a few blocks from the attack site.

    Latest estimates for The William calls for the new building to be some 38 stories tall with a price tag of $170 million. The building is slated to contain 373 residential units, including studios and one and two bedroom apartments.

    The structure will also contain commercial and retail space and facilities for a 100-space parking lot.

    Current plans propose residential units to break down roughly to 112 studios, 224 one-bedroom spaces and 37 double-bedrooms. Original plans also indicate a penthouse floor could be in the works.
    Funding for the project is primarily financed through $131.4 million in Liberty Bonds, created by

    Washington after the 9/11 attacks for development in the “Liberty Zone” south of Canal St.

    The city-controlled portion of the funds are funneled to the developer by the Housing Development Corp.

    A small portion of the apartments have been set aside for moderate income residents at $1,429 for studios and up to $1,837 for two bedrooms – all under consideration as plans are finalized

    The city and state share $8 billion of the tax-exempt bonds for commercial and residential development.

    H.D.C. president Emily Youssouf said in a statement that 15 percent of the The William units have been ear-marked for “potential residents who are in the moderate income range.

    “We worked hard to find a solution to create affordable housing as part of the Liberty Bond program,” she said. “Now, with The William we will not only receive the three percent fee to construct affordable housing elsewhere, but 15 percent of the apartments will be set aside for affordable housing.”

    Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess
    A pedestrian near the construction site.

    She said eligible applicants for these apartments can earn up to $81,640 per four-member family. The agency said monthly open-market rates for similar units in Lower Manhattan average around $2,100 for a studio and up to $4,550 for a two bedroom – about the same range for the remaining 85 per cent of spaces at the 15 William St. project.

    She credited developer, The Manocherian Organization, for bringing affordable housing to Lower Manhattan.

    Tracy Paurowski, an H.D.C. spokesperson said the layout, number of apartments and their breakdown sizes are not completed, so the number of floors could change as well as the number of studios, one and two bedroom units and even three bedroom units.

    “The new residential developments created are bringing scores of people back to the area,” she added. “We are particularly pleased about 15 William. After a long negotiation process with several different projects looking for Liberty Bond financing, the Manocherian Organization emerged with this development that would deliver the most for downtown,” she said.

    Originally, planners had hoped for a 2005 completion, but construction began only recently.

    But this project and the issue of what constitutes affordable housing in the Liberty Zone does come with its detractors.

    Bettina Damiani, a director for a group called Good Jobs New York says The William development will help little to create affordable housing in the area.

    “Ironically, Liberty Bonds have created housing units in Lower Manhattan that the majority of New Yorkers – including teachers, cops and firefighters – can’t afford,” she said.

    “Even the small [number] set aside for moderate units at 15 William St. by the H.D.C. won’t put a dent in the affordable housing crisis or the undue pressure long-time residents are experiencing,” she said.

    The nationwide group works with public economic development officials and the media on the best practices to secure state and local job subsidies. They also seek to ensure that subsidized businesses are held accountable for family-wage jobs.

    Developer Jed Manocherian of The Manocherian Organization said in a statement that, “We are particularly pleased to be able to fulfill the city’s and H.D.C.’s desire to provide affordable housing in the heart of the Liberty Zone.”

    A spokesperson for the firm said the group had no further comment.

    The Downtown Alliance, which manages the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, says despite the terror attacks there has been no real exodus from the area because of 9/11.

    In 2000, the population of the area south of City Hall, river to river, was 24,665 persons living in 14,014 residential units. Following the collapse of the Twin Towers, the figures rose steadily to last year’s population of 33,106 residents living in 18,810 dwellings.

    And it’s estimated that by 2008 there will be nearly 30,000 residents living in 52,300 apartments. The figures were also supported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    In another survey taken by the Alliance last year, figures show the average mean household income for the Downtown area since the attacks was listed at $150,200 – as opposed to $154,300 before the towers came down.

    Calling Lower Manhattan “the nation’s most historic neighborhood,” a spokesperson said the Downtown Alliance is dedicated to promoting safe and clean living conditions in the neighborhood by supplementing city police and sanitation efforts. It also offers tourism programs, special events and street design proposals.

  10. #10

    Default 15 William Street

    There's also a thread on the project here:

    15 William Street
    13-23 William Street/51 - 59 Beaver Street
    38 stories 400 feet
    Dev-Fraydun Manocherian
    345/373 units 370,815 Sq. Ft.
    Under Construction 2005-2006

  11. #11


    Economics Behind Liberty Bond-Funded Luxury Unit Questioned

    BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    October 12, 2005


    The speaker of the City Council, Gifford Miller, spoke yesterday at an event celebrating the topping off of a luxury apartment building in Tribeca that will feature an indoor swimming pool, a two-story glass fireplace in the lobby, and a 24-hour concierge.

    He called the project an important step in rebuilding the residential and commercial communities in Lower Manhattan. But at least one critic is asking why a taxpayer subsidy in the form of $120 million in Liberty Bonds is necessary to finance housing built by rich developers for rich residents
    The director of a development accountability think tank, Good Jobs New York, Bettina Damiani, said the building at 88 Leonard St. contains too many luxury units and is not a good use of resources designated for Lower Manhattan redevelopment after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    "Bring back capitalism to Lower Manhattan," Ms. Damiani said. "Developers are going to build luxury units if there is demand for them. It is not something the taxpayer should be subsidizing.

    "When you have so many luxury units being built with funds that exclude lower- and moderate-income people, taxpayers should question whether this is a good use of 9/11 resources," she continued.

    Mr. Miller himself had previously condemned the state and city for not allocating more subsidies, in the form of tax-exempt Liberty Bonds, toward the construction of "affordable housing." Of the 352 units in the 21-story, aluminum and glass Leonard Street building, 18, or just more than 5%, are labeled "affordable housing" by the developer. That's just more than the minimum amount required by the state to apply for the bonds
    The president of Singer & Bassuk, the organization that arranged the project's Liberty Bond financing, Richard Bassuk, said that the bonds were necessary to move the deal forward.

    "I think the economics of it are such that the rental project was really made economically feasible by the fact you have the Liberty Bond financing for it," Mr. Bassuk told The New York Sun. Mr. Bassuk defended Liberty Bonds, saying they had been responsible for a lot of residential construction in Manhattan that would not have taken place without subsidies.

    In 2002, Mr. Miller said that the state and city Liberty Bond allocation plan would "benefit wealthy New Yorkers renting luxury apartments at the expense of thousands of low- and middle-income residents."

    At that time, Mr. Miller proposed a plan through the council where at least 20% of residential units built with Liberty Bonds would be affordable to low-and very low-income families and at least 35% would be affordable to families earning between $50,240 and $94,200 a year.

    Mr. Miller told the Sun yesterday, "We should always be looking for more affordable housing ... At a time when a lot of people are leaving Lower Manhattan, this is a step in the right direction."

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents Lower Manhattan in Congress, said yesterday in an e-mail that future residential downtown development should include the entire "wealth spectrum."

    "All over the city, low- and middle-income families are getting priced out of decent housing, and while it may be lucrative to build high-priced housing downtown, I think we should take the opportunity of rebuilding to provide quality options for everyone. The need is real. It's time for developers to respond," Mr. Nadler said.

    Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress authorized the city and the state each to issue $4 billion in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds, with a total of $6.4 billion allotted for commercial projects and $1.6 billion for residential.

    A state entity, the Housing Finance Agency, approved $125 million of Liberty Bonds for Leonard Street in June 2004. It was one of the state's largest residential Liberty Bond allocations.

    The developers of the building are Leviev Boymelgreen and Africa Israel Investments. The project manager is Tishman Construction Corporation. The property will be leased and managed by Rose Associates
    Incorporated Information on rentals will become available in 2006; the building is expected to open to occupants in June of that year.

    October 12, 2005 Edition

  12. #12
    The Dude Abides
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    NYC - Financial District


    July 12, 2006

    A Pot of Tax-Free Bonds for Post-9/11 Projects Is Empty


    A milestone was reached yesterday in the federal Liberty Bonds program, which was created to help Lower Manhattan and the New York economy recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by giving developers access to billions of dollars in low-cost tax-exempt financing.

    Once officials issue the bonds that were earmarked yesterday, the $8 billion designated for the program will be depleted, ending a program that critics say has benefited developers and high-profile corporations at the expense of ordinary New Yorkers.

    As part of an agreement reached with the developer Larry A. Silverstein in April, the city Industrial Development Agency gave preliminary approval to using all but $50 million of its remaining bond authorization for projects at the World Trade Center site, including $702 million for the Freedom Tower and the retail portion of the office buildings, which will be owned by the Port Authority. (Mr. Silverstein’s recently opened 7 World Trade Center received $475 million in Liberty Bonds; three additional towers on the site will receive $2.6 billion, provided that Mr. Silverstein meets his deadlines.)

    The other $50 million in bonds was tentatively approved for a 220-room luxury hotel to be developed by the Moinian Group, a New York developer, on a site south of ground zero adjacent to the Deutsche Bank Building, which is scheduled for demolition.

    Joseph Moinian, the chief executive, applied for Liberty Bond financing more than a year ago and watched with concern while other projects, like the new 43-story Goldman Sachs headquarters on West Street, got ahead of him in line. He had said that without tax-free financing he would be unable to include a hotel in his 53-story project at 123 Washington Street because the returns to his investors would not be enough to justify the risk. The $240 million building, to be designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, will also have 180 residential condominiums.

    The hotel financing is contingent on a required survey of the demand for rooms in Lower Manhattan. Real estate specialists say, however, that the study is likely to show that Lower Manhattan, which has only 2,500 rooms, is not now meeting the demand.

    Mr. Moinian said his hotel would cater to tourists and office workers. “You need hotels, restaurants and places to hang out,’’ he said. “We don’t have that right now in this part of town.’’ Getting preliminary approval for the bonds will enable him to negotiate with hotel chains, he said.

    Authorized by Congress in 2002, the Liberty Bonds program is unusual in that it awards bonds exempt from federal, state and city taxes to commercial projects that are not in blighted areas. The city and state were authorized to issue $4 billion worth of bonds each, with up to $1.6 billion to be used for residential rental projects and up to $2 billion for commercial buildings outside the so-called Liberty Zone, below Canal Street.

    New commercial projects receiving Liberty financing had to be 20,000 square feet within the Liberty Zone and 100,000 square feet in other neighborhoods. The bonds are issued by four city and state agencies, which follow different procedures.

    From the outset, residential developers were eager to take advantage of the program. In all, Liberty Bonds went to 13 residential buildings with 4,468 market-rate units, including one that was already in the works before the attacks. Two additional projects, with at least 500 apartments, are awaiting final approval.

    Bettina Damiani, a project director for Good Jobs New York, a nonprofit organization that has monitored the Liberty Bond program, noted that firefighters, police officers and teachers would not be able to afford to live in the market-rate housing built with public subsidies. “All the brilliant minds we have in New York couldn’t find a way to develop housing that would benefit everyone,’’ she said. “They are going to use federal funds to help create an economically gentrified area.’’

    But Ms. Damiani praised the Bloomberg administration for imposing fees of 3 percent to 5 percent on apartment developers who received Liberty Bonds from the city. The fees generated $19.3 million and financed the construction of six buildings in Queens, the Bronx and East Harlem for low- and middle-income tenants, according to the city Housing Development Corporation. Five percent of the apartments financed through the state’s share of Liberty Bonds must be reserved for moderate-income tenants.

    If developers of residential projects were quick to embrace the Liberty Bond program, commercial developers were much slower to respond. So early on, officials awarded the low-interest financing to other projects that they believed would benefit the city’s economy. A division of Forest City Ratner got $90.8 million worth of financing to build a new office tower in downtown Brooklyn for the Bank of New York, which suffered heavy losses on Sept. 11. (Forest City Ratner, The New York Times Company’s partner in the development of a new headquarters building on Eighth Avenue, applied for Liberty Bond financing for that project but was turned down.)

    In a more controversial move, the city awarded $650 million worth of bonds for the 51-story Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, which the Durst Organization and the bank are building at 42nd Street and the Avenue of the Americas, in what is now one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

    In the only other successful Liberty Bond application for a project outside downtown, the IAC/InterActiveCorp, an Internet company founded by Barry Diller that owns TicketMaster and, received $80 million for a new headquarters building designed by Frank Gehry along the West Side Highway at 18th Street.

    In seeking the bonds, InterActiveCorp promised to increase its New York work force to 382, from 237, by June 30, 2008. It now has 330 employees, a company spokeswoman said. Without Liberty Bonds, the company’s decision to build on the fringe of Chelsea would not have been viable, said Joseph B. Rose, a partner in the Georgetown Company, the developer. Mr. Rose was chairman of the city planning commission under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

    In retrospect, the Liberty Bonds program should have been more restrictive, said Petra Todorovich, a senior planner for the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning organization. “There are no longer bonds available for additional commercial development in Lower Manhattan and we probably could have used some more,’’ she said. “New York had less trouble recovering than Lower Manhattan. If we could redesign the program today, we would direct more of those funds toward Lower Manhattan only.’’

    State and city officials also faced criticism for awarding $1.7 billion worth of Liberty Bonds to Goldman Sachs, but Joshua J. Sirefman, the interim president of the city Economic Development Corporation, said the decision was crucial to breathing life into the downtown office market, which is showing signs of improvement. “The commitment from Goldman Sachs was probably one of the single strongest statements on the ongoing vitality of Lower Manhattan as a global financial center, particularly at a time when that was surrounded by uncertainty,’’ he said.

    Apart from the World Trade Center sites, the Goldman Sachs headquarters, the three projects outside the Liberty Zone, and the Moinian hotel, only three other relatively modest commercial projects will benefit from the program — a Greenwich Street boutique hotel that is partly owned by Robert De Niro; the National Sports Museum, which will be built at 26 Broadway; and some retail space for the new apartment buildings.

    But Mr. Sirefman said that the program’s goal had been fulfilled and that there were few other sites available in Lower Manhattan for commercial development. “Our top priority has always been the trade center,’’ he said. “The program has been well used.’’

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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