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Lower Manhattan after 9/11

Much of Lower Manhattan has been rebuilt with little concern for input from the city’s residents. Although the 9/11 families have had input into the World Trade Center (WTC) site, citizens have been shut out of the rest of Lower Manhattan. Only a few weeks after 9/11, a group of highly organized business men called for the creation of a public authority that would be responsible for the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan. Who were these business and real estate leaders? - The Partnership for the City of New York and Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Board, and the Alliance for Downtown New York. The Governor and State Legislature created the state Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). LMDC’s territory runs from Houston Street to the tip of Manhattan, from the East River to the Hudson, and oversees the revitalization and rebuilding of all businesses and housing except for those areas that are governed by other authorities; namely, WTC site governed by the Port Authority, and Battery Park City governed by the Battery Park City Authority. The people appointed by Governor Pataki were from the financial and real estate industry with few appointees from local residents. Other than the chair of Community Board 1 and a representative from the construction trades, the list reads like the who’s who from a night at Lincoln Center. With the establishment of LMDC, developers no longer had to worry about the City’s urban planning process, (ULURP), nor did developers have to worry about the City’s building codes. After all, the City no longer has jurisdiction. Most importantly, what the City Council thinks is no longer relevant including the City Council’s call for more affordable housing in Lower Manhattan. The creation of state authorities has always been used to cut elected officials and city residents out of the decision making process. The City has lost a huge chunk of real estate to the State and developers. Lower Manhattan is becoming a playground for the rich as one luxury building after another is built.

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