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Thread: Renovation of the UN - by Fumihiko Maki with S.O.M.

  1. #61

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    NY Magazine

    Trump and The GOP
    Just want to help the U.N. No, really.





    Jeff Sessions, an ultraconservative Methodist Republican senator from Alabama, has teamed up with multiply married casino owner Donald Trump to try to save the U.N. some money on remodeling its headquarters.

    According to Trump, the project’s estimated price tag of $1.2 billion means “somebody is either very stupid or very crooked.” Maybe Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s “son is working on it,” he cracks, referring to the one implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal.
    In a show of goodwill, Trump offered to do the job for less than half that: “I met with Kofi. I told him I’d do a better job.” The U.N. hasn’t responded.

    Sessions banded with Trump because he says the U.N. should be funding health care and infrastructure, “not Taj Mahal suites in New York.” But doesn’t he know that’s exactly Trump’s specialty? Perhaps not. Sessions says he’s never been inside a Trump building, but that he “walked past the Trump World Tower recently.” Has he ever seen The Apprentice? Yes, says Sessions, but “not all the way through.”

    —Will Doig

  2. #62

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    The United Nations only occupies a small part of its site on the East River.

    Two easy solutions:

    Get the money by selling air-rights to developers.

    Build an expansion building on its own park land saving Robert Moses Park.

  3. #63
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Trump, the numbers for the renovation are absurd.

  4. #64

    Default Trump and Turner

    Ted Turner had pledged a billion to the UN. Maybe the time has come for him to cut Donald Trump a check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stern
    The United Nations only occupies a small part of its site on the East River.

    Two easy solutions:

    Get the money by selling air-rights to developers.

    Build an expansion building on its own park land saving Robert Moses Park.
    The first option is intriguing, although I can't think of any contiguous parcels that could accept air rights. I doubt the City would allow higher FARs on the Con Ed parcels. The UN has promised new park land along the river, but that would entail building a platform on the river - raising myriad environmental concerns - and providing access over the FDR and the 42 Street on-ramps.

    A better option may be to open a portion of the acres north of the UN to passive recreation. Besides, Murray Hill may get its own new park from the Solow project, possibly on the parcel between 40th and 41st street on the west side of 1st Avenue. A replacement to Robert Moses in this vicinity would be redundant.



    Quote Originally Posted by Furio
    Ted Turner had pledged a billion to the UN. Maybe the time has come for him to cut Donald Trump a check.
    Turner's pledge consisted of TW shares to be distributed over time, valued at the date of announcement. With the stock now worth a fraction of its previous price, and Ted's personal wealth (and position at TW) much diminished, the UN can write much of this off as bad debt.

  6. #66

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    NY SUN

    Powell, Koch Back New U.N. Headquarters

    BY MEGHAN CLYNE
    May 3, 2005


    Are you a distinguished New Yorker looking to help the United Nations improve its headquarters at Turtle Bay? If so, the president of the United Nations Development Corporation, Roy Goodman, wants YOU as a member of his Ad Hoc Committee for a New U.N. Office Building.

    Using a version of that appeal, Mr. Goodman, the longtime Republican state senator from Manhattan, has enlisted such supporters as Colin Powell, Edward Koch, and Mortimer Zuckerman for the cause.

    The development corporation, a city-state entity, hopes to erect a 900,000-square-foot, 35-story swing space on a neighboring city park as part of U.N. plans to renovate and expand the headquarters. The corporation's component of the project has been imperiled by a legislative impasse in Albany, where the Republican-controlled state Senate has, since early December, refused to take up the first piece of legislation that is required for the project to advance.

    In a solicitation letter obtained by The New York Sun, Mr. Goodman announced the formation of an ad-hoc committee meant to influence the state legislators. Their opposition to the expansion has delayed the project to the point that, as the Sun reported last month, the United Nations may be considering alternatives for temporary office space as it undertakes a $1.2 billion renovation.

    The Goodman letter, dated April 26, came 19 days after the corporation's president told other directors that he expected the state Senate to move on the legislation within the week.

    In the letter, Mr. Goodman extols the virtues of the project - which he, the UNDC, and the United Nations maintain is a consolidation, not an expansion, of the world body's offices in the city - and bemoans the roadblock in Albany.

    "Unfortunately, the move to green-light the Project is blocked in the State Legislature which brings us to the specific request in this letter," Mr. Goodman and another member of the ad-hoc committee, John Whitehead, a former deputy secretary of state, wrote. "WE RESPECTFULLY ASK YOU TO JOIN THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE WHICH IS URGING THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO PASS THE LEGISLATION TO PERMIT THE NEW OFFICE BUILDING PROJECT TO PROCEED.

    "We believe that the time has come for a group of distinguished citizens such as yourself to make your voices heard in support of this project," the letter continues. "If we let it slip away, New York City will lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue." The development corporation and the city's Economic Development Corporation have said the United Nations generates $2.5 billion annually for the city's economy.

    The invitation to join the committee, Mr. Goodman told the Sun, was sent to "a mailing list of prominent New Yorkers whose opinions would count." The committee, he said, originated in response to a conversation with the Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, who, Mr. Goodman said, "wasn't clear who was really for this proposal."

    "So I thought it would be appropriate to put together a group of New Yorkers to convince Senator Bruno of the gravitas of those supportive of the new U.N. office building," Mr. Goodman said, adding that the process of forming the committee began a few months ago.

    A partial roster of the committee in formation consists of Mr. Powell, the former secretary of state; a former senator, Alfonse D'Amato; two former mayors, David Dinkins and Edward Koch; Mr. Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News, which has backed the project in an editorial; a leading Clinton administration diplomat, Richard Holbrooke - whose op-ed column frequently appears in the Sun - and the president of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, along with a variety of former American ambassadors and other luminaries.

    Mr. Koch, who has called the United Nations a "cesspool" and a "monument to hypocrisy," said his position on the world body's internal operations did not affect his stance on its construction project. Punishing the United Nations "because you don't agree with them, by preventing them from functioning and depriving them of new space, is ridiculous," he said.

    Mr. Goodman did not detail exactly what would be asked of committee members. Mr. Koch said, "I assume it's going to be lobbying in some form, either by letter or in person, or by telephone."

    Previous attempts by Mr. Goodman and allies to win hearts and minds in Albany seem to have met with little success. As the Sun reported in March, the development corporation chairman, George Klein, and the city commissioner for the United Nations, consular corps and protocol, Marjorie Tiven, who is Mayor Bloomberg's sister and a director of the development corporation, joined Mr. Goodman in a lobbying mission to Albany.

    A spokesman for Mr. Bruno, John McArdle, said the senator's office had not been made aware of the ad-hoc committee. "There are no plans to take up the bill at this point," Mr. McArdle said.

    Two of the state senators most strongly opposed to the project seemed undaunted by the formation of the committee.

    Senator Golden, a Republican of Brooklyn, said of Mr. Goodman's efforts: "He doesn't have to go to all that trouble. All he has to do is get Kofi Annan to step down, and it's a done deal." Mr. Golden has long said that the resignation of the beleaguered U.N. secretary-general would secure his approval for the project.

    Senator Maltese, a Republican of Queens, said: "I think all of the arguments have been made, and we've listened to them."

    "I don't see how it makes any difference who's on this committee," Mr. Maltese said.

    "I'm always willing to listen to my former colleague," he said of Mr. Goodman, "but right now I don't feel I'm going to be persuaded." Mr. Maltese also said the wishes of his constituents - who, he said, are very much opposed to the project - outweighed high-profile support for the U.N. undertaking.

    One of the project's leading opponents in the Assembly, Dov Hikind, also said he had been unaware of the committee's formation. Like his colleagues in the Senate, however, he was unimpressed by the list of backers.

    "We've made it very clear that we have a very serious moral problem with the United Nations, and I don't care who it is ... 14 different secretaries of state, 16 former this, 20 former that - it will make no difference in the issues of principle involved," the Brooklyn Democrat said yesterday.

    Mr. Hikind expressed particular dismay at Mr. Foxman's membership on the committee. "It's absolutely preposterous, and shameful," Mr. Hikind said by phone from Israel yesterday. The ADL, he said, is supposed to combat anti-Semitism, and he complained that Mr. Foxman "is going to support in any fashion an organization like the U.N. that symbolizes anti-Semitism ... and is synonymous with hatred of Israel."

    Mr. Foxman, for his part, said: "I think that not everything in life is measured by one criteria. One measures things with other criteria - is this good for the city of New York? The people of New York? The answer is yes; that's no. 1," Mr. Foxman said. He also said it is easier to combat anti-Semitism with the United Nations in New York City than abroad, where it would be subjected to less scrutiny.

  7. #67
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    Perhaps all of this with the WTC uprising plays out to a move by the UN to WTC site.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider
    Perhaps all of this with the WTC uprising plays out to a move by the UN to WTC site.
    Did you see this?

  9. #69
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    Wink

    Yeah - I'm just turning it into a mantra.

  10. #70

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    NEWSDAY

    UN looks to B'klyn for temporary space


    UNITED NATIONS -- United Nations delegates, welcome to ... Brooklyn?

    U.N. planners have found commercial space across the East River that could serve as a temporary home while the United Nations' iconic glass-and-steel headquarters on the East River gets a long-overdue renovation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report Monday.

    The report assessed where things stand with plans to renovate the U.N. secretariat building, which was considered modern when it was constructed 50 years ago but now violates most New York City fire and safety codes.

    The 38-story tower has no sprinkler system, is packed with asbestos and leaks about 25 percent of the heat pumped into it in the winter.

    Annan said a search of more than 100 properties in Manhattan had turned up nothing that satisfied its needs for both office and conference space. A major issue is figuring out where to hold the annual General Assembly debate, when world leaders descend on New York for several days.

    The Brooklyn space, part of a larger development in the borough's downtown, could fit the bill, Annan's report said. "The disadvantage is that the site would require additional travel for many staff and delegates," Annan wrote.

    U.N. officials acknowledge the chances of a move to Brooklyn are remote.


    But even raising the option revealed just how difficult it's become for the world body to find a suitable place to stay during the headquarters overhaul.

    The U.N. had originally hoped to build a skyscraper next to the secretariat in Manhattan to serve as "swing space" during the renovation. Once the work was complete, U.N. offices scattered around New York would fill the building.

    But that requires approval from the state legislature, and lawmakers who oppose the United Nations on principle have refused -- despite urging from the Bush Administration.

    Even if Albany does agree to the legislation anytime soon, the next-door skyscraper wouldn't be ready until 2010, three years behind schedule. Those delays would cost the United Nations $114 million, Annan said.

    In the report, Annan also recommended that the United Nations accept a U.S. offer for a $1.2 billion loan, repayable over 30 years at an annual interest rate of 5.54 percent, to finance the U.N. renovation. The loan offer expires on Sept. 30.

  11. #71
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Annan said a search of more than 100 properties in Manhattan had turned up nothing that satisfied its needs for both office and conference space. A major issue is figuring out where to hold the annual General Assembly debate, when world leaders descend on New York for several days.
    Hey, Kofi! How 'bout this?
    Office space -> 7 WTC (oh excuse me, 250 Greenwich St.)
    Conference space -> MSG or Javits or Lincoln Center.

  12. #72

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    DAILY NEWS

    UN eyes space in B'klyn, WTC area

    BY PAUL D. COLFORD

    Lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn may be saying hello, along with bonjour, ni hao and zdravstvuite, to the United Nations - at least temporarily.

    The world body is looking for office and conference space while it renovates its landmark East Side headquarters, starting in 2007. Among the sites under consideration is 7 World Trade Center, the high-rise being completed next to Ground Zero.

    CB Richard Ellis, the commercial real estate firm that is the leasing agent for the skyscraper, confirmed that UN representatives visited the building.

    A total of 2,700 UN employees will have to be relocated for five years or more, UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said yesterday.

    A UN plan to build and temporarily occupy an office tower on the Robert Moses Playground, south of its headquarters, "is now in question," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a report to the General Assembly, because the New York State Senate has yet to approve the needed legislation.

    According to Annan's report on the search for space, "after researching over 100 properties ... it appears that existing commercial space that could accommodate the conferencing requirements is unavailable in Manhattan at the scale required."

    The UN's General Assembly Hall has seating for 1,800.

    Okabe declined to identify the site in downtown Brooklyn, saying to do so "would affect pricing" if leasing discussions ever moved forward.

    Borough President Marty Markowitz and real estate players in Brooklyn said they didn't know what site was being eyed.

    "But I promise them," Markowitz said, "that as happy as they are in Manhattan, that's as happy as they would be in Brooklyn - just like all the people from Manhattan who have come to live here."

    The Brooklyn location is "part of a larger development" and "would accommodate both office and conference space," the report says. "The disadvantage is that the site would require additional travel for many staff and delegates."


    _________________________________________________


    NY POST

    U.N. SNUBS WTC SITE TO BUILD IN BROOKLYN

    By TOM TOPOUSIS

    May 11, 2005 -- In another blow to Ground Zero, the United Nations yesterday rejected a newly constructed office tower at 7 World Trade Center as a temporary home while its landmark Manhattan headquarters is renovated.

    Instead, the world body is considering sites in Downtown Brooklyn as a backup to its first goal of building a new office tower on an asphalt park south of the East Side complex, as The Post first reported in February.

    U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report released yesterday, ruled out any other sites in Manhattan because none of the properties satisfied the need for both office and conference space with room to hold the annual General Assembly.

    Marie Okabe, a spokeswoman for the United Nations, would not discuss any talks over 7 WTC because of ongoing negotiations to find a temporary headquarters.

    "But we can confirm that we did go out and look at it," she said.

    The United Nations is scrambling to find 700,000 square feet of office space to make room for workers who will be displaced during a $1.2 billion overhaul of the aging Secretariat building overlooking the East River.

    A plan to build a 35-story auxiliary tower south of the headquarters on a city playground was derailed by the state Senate, which voted down the project last fall.

    The Financial Times reported yesterday that the United Nations was considering a move to 7 WTC, the glass-walled, state-of-the-art tower in the last phases of construction by Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein.

    The developer has yet to line up a tenant for the nearly completed building at 7 WTC or for the proposed Freedom Tower.

    A spokesman for Silverstein did not comment yesterday on the U.N. decision to pass over the World Trade Center site.

    Ground Zero's loss would be Brooklyn's gain, bringing several thousand international workers to the office district. The Brooklyn space, part of a larger development in the borough's downtown, could fit the bill, Annan's report said.

    "The disadvantage is that the site would require additional travel for many staff and delegates," Annan wrote.

    Joseph Sitt, head of Brooklyn development firm Thor Equities, said he's had discussions with the United Nations about moving to a 1.26 million-square-foot office project that he's developing at the corner of Willoughby Street and Flatbush Avenue.

    "We would be very honored and excited to have them," Sitt said, adding that the only catch is that the United Nations wants a seven-year lease while banks willing to finance projects like his usually demand a 10-year lease from major tenants.

  13. #73

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    Joseph Sitt, head of Brooklyn development firm Thor Equities, said he's had discussions with the United Nations about moving to a 1.26 million-square-foot office project that he's developing at the corner of Willoughby Street and Flatbush Avenue.

    "We would be very honored and excited to have them," Sitt said, adding that the only catch is that the United Nations wants a seven-year lease while banks willing to finance projects like his usually demand a 10-year lease from major tenants.
    I was wondering if this was the site. Glad to hear it is, this will be the first real skyscraper built in Brooklyn since the Williamsburg Saving Bank, it will really get things moving over there.

  14. #74
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    Honestly who cares were they go, the just take up prime office space in Midtown, including the Chrysler Building, were other firms can use to expand, they should be in the middle East were most of the worlds problems are

  15. #75

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    You'd rather have some bland office towers replace what is effectively the world's highest-level economic, political, and cultural forum?

    I can understand the majority of the anti-UN sentiment in the United States, but New Yorkers should value the presence of such an elite institution in their city, which has transformed the significance of New York from a global commercial centre to a political and administrative one as well. It grants New York the distinction of being one of the few centres of international governance not dominated by a bland bureaucratical culture. This in effect makes the city very attractive for organisations which desire a vibrant urban setting as well as proximity to such a vital organ as the UN- all the NGOs like human rights or environmental organisations which do, indeed, fill masses of space on First and Second Avenues, land which is valuable precisely because of its proximity to the Secretariat building. This is not to mention those offices crucial to the functioning of the UN itself, the representations of various nations spangled throughout the city, many of which choose to engage in many of their ambassadorial tasks in New York rather than Washington. Departments at NYU and Columbia like political science and international affairs thrive on UN connections, and the output and prestige of these universities provides incomparable benefits for the city as well.

    Why toy with the fiction that a third of Midtown would instead be putatively filled by banks and technology companies dutifully filing back from lighter-taxed New Jersey? It wouldn't happen, and from a purely practical economic standpoint alone New Yorkers should be thankful for the blood pumped into its system by the UN's presence, rather than cursing its monopolisation of real estate in a city not only with plenty of room to build upon, but fewer potential occupants than appears to be presupposed.

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