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December 12, 2002
PR 328-02


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today outlined his vision for Lower Manhattan which included proposals for opening the waterfront to the public, increasing affordable housing, and ensuring Lower Manhattan's future as a leader in the global economy. The Mayor's vision calls for 21st century transportation links to mass transit and commuter rails as well as one-seat rides to the area's international airports; the creation of two anchors for residential areas, Fulton Market Square and Greenwich Square; a proposal to create a new tax incentive zone to spur the relocation of foreign multinational corporations head-quarters to the area; and initiatives to create new and improved public places/streetscapes within a loop linking the neighborhood's residential areas, plazas, and cultural institutions. The premise of the Mayor's plan is to make visionary use of the City's resources in the transformation of Lower Manhattan. The Mayor described his vision at the Association for a Better New York breakfast at the Regent Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

"No matter how magnificent the best design for the sixteen acres of the World Trade Center site proves to be, it must be complemented by an equally bold vision for all of Lower Manhattan - a new beginning - that meets the needs of all of New York City and of the entire region," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The time has come to restore Lower Manhattan to its rightful place as a center of innovation and make it a 'Downtown for the 21st Century'."

The Mayor outlined three types of investments the City must make including those that connect Lower Manhattan to the world around it, those that build new neighborhoods, and those that create appealing public spaces.


The Mayor stressed that transportation enhancements are pivotal to the City's plans to make downtown more accessible to residents, employees and visitors. Initiatives embraced by the City include:

  • Direct, one-seat airport access by extending the AirTrain system from JFK through a new tunnel to Lower Manhattan and by extending the PATH train from Newark's Penn Station to Newark Liberty Airport. The new tunnel between downtown and JFK would also connect the area to any Long Island Railroad train at Jamaica Station.

  • Increased investment in ferry service to bring more people to Lower Manhattan with links to other parts of the five boroughs, regional service to the suburbs, connections to tourist destinations, and potentially to LaGuardia airport.

  • A new bus parking facility to provide commuter and charter buses a place to park between entering and leaving the City in order to reduce congestion on the streets of Lower Manhattan.

  • In addition to the construction of the new PATH station at the site, a new transit hub at Fulton and Broadway that would untangle the knot of fifteen subway lines that converge downtown, and then connect to the PATH and AirTrain.

"Lower Manhattan's competition to be a global center isn't just Midtown or even Chicago or Los Angeles. Increasingly, it is London and Berlin and Hong Kong. In this worldwide competition, easy access becomes more and more important. We must invest in making downtown more accessible - both to the rest of the world, and to residents of the metropolitan region," Mayor Bloomberg said.


The Mayor proposed targeted investments to catalyze the creation of two exciting new neighborhoods south of Chambers Street - one near Fulton Street, east of Broadway and the other, south of Liberty Street, west of Broadway; lay the groundwork for the private sector's construction of 10,000 new units of housing in Lower Manhattan; the transformation of West Street into a tree-lined boulevard; and greater links to Lower Manhattan's neighbors of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

  • Fulton Market Square, located along Fulton Street, would serve as a public market and transform the street into a great place to shop, eat or enjoy cultural institutions. Re-establishing Fulton Street through the World Trade Center site would make it a thoroughfare that stretches from river to river.

  • Greenwich Square, located in the area south of Liberty, would be a new park built on the deck over the mouth of the Battery Tunnel. Roughly comparable in size to Gramercy Park, Greenwich Square would be one of the City's green gems.

  • Public investments and the use of Liberty Bonds would spur the creation of 10,000 new apartments over the next ten years. To encourage additional housing, the City proposes relaxing the existing density restrictions on residential development in Lower Manhattan, and providing developers with a subsidy to make 20% of the new units downtown affordable to people who could not otherwise live in market-rate housing.

  • To knit the area south of Liberty to Battery Park City, West Street would be transformed into a promenade lined with 700 trees, a Champs-Elysees or Commonwealth Avenue for Lower Manhattan.

  • To further encourage families to move downtown, the Mayor stressed the importance of building a new public library branch, additional schools and cultural institutions.

  • To connect the existing communities of Chinatown and the Lower East Side to Lower Manhattan, an inter-agency task force including the Department of City Planning, the Police Department, and the Department of Transportation is developing innovative ways to better link these neighborhoods to the rest of downtown.

"While the number of people who live below Chambers Street has grown significantly, other than Battery Park City, for most residents there are no real supermarkets, not enough open space and not enough schools. With targeted investments, we can catalyze the creation of two exciting new neighborhoods south of Chambers Street - one near Fulton Street, east of Broadway and the other, south of Liberty Street, west of Broadway," Mayor Bloomberg said.


Lower Manhattan would be linked together by a loop, marked by public spaces, running from the Battery, up Water Street to the South Street Seaport, across a revived Fulton Street to West Street and down a tree-lined West Street back to the Battery. More than twenty cultural institutions that already exist downtown today would line the 2.2-mile loop, creating a critical mass to draw tourists from around the world.

  • Battery Park would be dramatically transformed into a destination in itself, a Sheep's Meadow for Lower Manhattan.

  • The plaza in front of a renovated Battery Maritime Building - one of the City's most beautiful and, unfortunately, most dilapidated buildings - would be expanded.

  • Along the East River, a new public space or waterfront park, would stretch from the Brooklyn Maritime Building to the South Street Seaport, with potential for ballfields, housing and cultural institutions looking out into New York Harbor.

  • Water Street, today a canyon between office towers, would become a beautiful tree-lined boulevard.

  • Fulton Street would stretch back to the World Trade Center site and the Memorial, where people would gather to remember those we lost and think about the future.

"New York is New York because it has majestic places open to the public that convey the unique thrill of being here. The City could expand out onto the river, creating something new on every one of these harbor-side city blocks. New cultural institutions, surrounded by playgrounds, ballfields, open grass, and apartments could look out across the harbor. And anchoring the residential and commercial neighborhoods, and the restored streets, would be a memorial that would put a physical shape to our grief and to our hopes for the future, and give us somewhere we can come together to share our thoughts and reflections on how September 11th affected our lives," Mayor Bloomberg said.


The Mayor stated unequivocally that Lower Manhattan's future as a hub of business and commerce is bright and proposed an incentive program to get international companies to locate to the area. The Mayor also proposed the use of insurance proceeds to lower rents, and the completion of new commercial construction with tax-free Liberty Bonds.

  • In addition to the existing incentives to encourage companies to relocate to the area, the City is proposing federal legislation to create the "World Trade Center Tax Incentive Zone." Its goal would be to attract foreign multinational corporations' headquarters to Lower Manhattan by exempting the companies from new federal taxes.

  • The Mayor announced that Goldman Sachs has reversed its decision to move its equity division out of the City, and will, instead, maintain the majority of that division here. The Mayor hailed this as another example of the business community's belief in the future of the Lower Manhattan and an indication of the many commitments to come.

"By providing foreign corporations with a compelling incentive to locate in Lower Manhattan, we strengthen the United States' status as the world's business leader," continued Mayor Bloomberg. "This initiative presents us with a singular opportunity to honor the victims of September 11th - many of whom worked for international companies and hailed from ninety-two countries - by creating a uniquely global business destination."

The Mayor estimated the total cost of the plan at $10.6 billion. Most of those funds - $8.8 billion - would go to infrastructure including the connection to John F. Kennedy Airport. Of the funds received from the federal government, $5.9 billion would be used for this plan. Proceeds from the sale of real estate development rights over the transit hub, from Greenwich Square, the East River Waterfront Park, and Fulton Market Square, and taxes from construction at the World Trade Center site itself can also be used to fund the investments.

"If successful, these public investments will spark a chain of private market reactions over the next ten years. The number of new jobs downtown will be twice what it would have been, justifying the need for ten million square feet of new commercial space throughout all of Lower Manhattan. New companies, in a range of industries, will grow downtown - strengthening the existing financial nerve center - while diversifying it," concluded the Mayor.

The Mayor's Office would like to thank the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) for hosting today's breakfast. ABNY has served for over 30 years as a civic organization, working to bring business, political, labor, community and non-profit leaders together to address problems facing the economic and social well being of the City. Under the leadership of William Rudin, son of ABNY founder Lewis Rudin, the organization continues to carry out its mission by providing forums and programs that work to make New York a better place to live, work, and visit.

Note: Ten slide images from the Mayor's presentation can be accessed at

The charts that were seen in the video presentation can be found below:
Uses of Funds (Infrastructure)
Sources of Funds
Uses of Funds


Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk
(212) 788-2958

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