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Nobody Wants To Bid Deutsche Bank Building Now

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Old 08-24-2007, 06:23 PM   #1
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Nobody Wants To Bid Deutsche Bank Building Now

Few Wanted Job at Ground Zero Tower
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Published: August 24, 2007
Filed at 4:02 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wanted: A demolition company willing to tear down a building contaminated with asbestos that some say is the most difficult project in the most difficult construction city in the world.

With building costs in New York far higher than those in the rest of the country, and a host of agencies regulating the project, a number of contractors didn't even bother bidding for the job to tear down the former Deutsche Bank building scarred by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

''This is such a unique, difficult and complex project, it's unlike anything I've ever seen in New York,'' said Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers' Association.

The job just got a lot harder.

A fire killed two firefighters on Saturday, and falling construction equipment injured two more on Thursday.

Officials said a pallet jack fell off a hoist elevator outside the building and plunged 23 stories through a shed, hitting the two firefighters. The firefighters were hospitalized Friday in stable condition, one with a head injury.

Authorities blamed the accident on a worker for John Galt Corp., a troubled contractor that was on notice that it was about to be dropped from the project for safety problems. Messages left for Galt on Thursday weren't immediately returned.

The pending termination of Galt's contract means officials will soon be looking for someone to take over the $150 million demolition job.

Before the accident, the name John Galt was known largely as a central character in the Ayn Rand novel ''Atlas Shrugged.''

It may take another fictional hero to complete the demolition.

The Deutsche Bank building has been empty since it was heavily damaged and coated with toxic debris in the attacks on the World Trade Center. It was being dismantled floor by floor as workers stripped asbestos. Once 41 stories, it stood at 26 when the fire broke out.

Firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino became trapped on one of the burning floors and died of cardiac arrest and smoke inhalation after their oxygen ran out.

Demolition work was stopped after the fire, although work to clean up debris and reseal contaminants continued. Even that proved to be dangerous.

Officials have said they will wait until the results of the fire investigation to restart demolition, which had been halted after the remains of Sept. 11 victims were found on the building years later and nearby residents expressed concerns about health hazards.

Private contractors have been working on the state-owned building, while multiple local, state and federal agencies have a hand in the decontamination and deconstruction.

''There are a number of very good abatement companies who just did not want to compete for this job, given those complexities, given the concerns of the community,'' said Coletti, of the trade association.

Any prospective company will have to have the experience -- and the insurance -- to go where few others are willing.

''There may be any number of companies whose insurance companies just won't insure this project, which will then shrink the pool further,'' Coletti said.

One former company at the site, Gilbane Building Company, said it would at least consider bidding on the project.

''When and if there is a solicitation we will review and look at it, and based on what it is, we may or may not have an interest,'' said Wes Cotter, a Gilbane spokesman.

The building's owner, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., bought the tower three years ago and took over the project. The city Department of Buildings issued a separate permit for each floor before it could be taken down.

''The Deutsche Bank project, the numbers are so big I almost thought about going back into the demolition business -- but New York is a whole separate planet in this stuff, completely different from the rest of the country,'' said Mike Taylor, executive director of the National Demolition Association.

The project has dragged on for years, but in the rest of the country, a typical demolition job takes about a month, Taylor said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday ''there was only one contractor willing to work on taking down the building, as far as I know.''

A day later, that company was told it would be taken off the job.

As difficult as the project may be, Coletti said there is one thing all the various agencies, companies and residents can agree on: ''Everybody wants that building down.''
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:41 PM   #2
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Re: Nobody Wants To Bid Deutsche Bank Building Now

Very Interesting:
Who Is John Galt? Nobody Very Qualified

(CBS) The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

Who is John Galt? I mean, besides the shadowy male hero of the Ayn Rand novel "Atlas Shrugged", which manages to convince thousands of teenagers every year that greed is good?

The New York Times leads with an exhaustive investigative piece revealing that the John Galt Corporation, hired by the city to demolish the 9/11-contaminated Deutsche Bank building where two firefighters died on Saturday, is every bit as shadowy and nearly as fictional as its namesake.

Having not only never done work like the extraordinarily tricky Deutsche Bank demolition but in fact having never "done much of anything since it was incorporated in 1983," the company was "not much more than a corporate entity meant to accommodate the people and companies actually doing the demolition job," the Times reports. One of those companies, Safeway Environmental Corporation, was barred from working on city schools because of alleged mob ties.

In an admission suggesting how hard it is to do any building work in New York City without contributing to the fortunes of made men, the Times notes that Safeway also worked on its fancy new headquarters.

The Galt corporation was fired yesterday for safety violations, according to the New York Post. The firefighters died as an out-of-control fire grew to seven alarms while they waited nearly an hour for water to arrive. Investigators found have revealed that a crucial section of the Deutsche Bank building's standpipe, designed to carry water from the sidewalk to fight fires throughout the high-rise, was cut, and the building's sprinkler system wasn't working.


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Old 08-26-2007, 02:37 PM   #3
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Re: Nobody Wants To Bid Deutsche Bank Building Now

What an effed up situation that building is indeed.

And how sad for lives lost.
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