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CurbedWire: Bushwick Inlet Park Begins, WTC War of Words

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WILLIAMSBURG?We recently mused on the topic of the apparently imminent start of construction on the small first phase of the 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront. Today, in a ceremony attended by Mayor Bloomberg, ground was broken between North 9th and North 10th Streets on what will soon be an athletic field and other outdoorsy elements. Originally slated for a summer '09 completion, the project is now looking at a winter 2010 finish. The second phase will begin work early next year and chug along towards a summer 2011 opening. [CurbedWire Inbox]

WORLD TRADE CENTER?News today that developer Larry Silverstein will take the WTC rebuilding fight with the Port Authority to a likely arbitration hearing was followed by a flurry of press releases, including one from Silverstein himself, another from Mayor Bloomberg and, 10 minutes after that, a few shots from the Port Authority. To the highlights!

First, a bit from Silverstein Properties, whose "Notice of Dispute" triggered the latest skirmish:

On October 2, 2008, the Port Authority publicly acknowledged that it will not complete key elements of the World Trade Center’s infrastructure, such as the underpinning of the Number 1 subway line, the PATH Hub and the Vehicle Security Center, until years after the dates required by the 2006 MDA. These delays, which Silverstein believes remain grossly understated, have adversely affected the development, schedule, cost and marketing of the three towers being built by Silverstein..."Today's action is designed to inject a renewed sense of urgency to these discussions and, should those discussions fail, to take the matter to an impartial panel of experts as early as this month."Strong, yet civilized. Next came some incendiary words from Mayor Bloomberg, an ally of Silverstein in the developer's effort to get all the WTC towers financed by the Port Authority and built now:After the negotiations between the Port Authority and Silverstein broke down, we brought the parties back to the table to avoid a stalemate. Unfortunately, not everyone worked as hard as necessary to find a solution. No one disputes that the Port Authority is engaged in many projects important to our region, but pitting those projects against the development of the World Trade Center site creates a false choice.Meow! Finally, the Port Authority (via the words of Executive Director Chris Ward) weighed in to defend its honor:"It’s unfortunate SPI is walking away from the negotiating table simply because the public has been unwilling to sacrifice critical transportation projects to subsidize private speculative office space. As the 2006 Master Development Agreement (MDA) makes clear, the Port Authority is meeting all of its obligations, and we look forward to a quick arbitration decision should Mr. Silverstein continue down this legal path."

File under: Opened, Can of Whoop-Ass. [CurbedWire]