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Port Authority’s Rick Cotton Joins D-LMA For Annual Meeting

PANYNJ Executive Director Rick Cotton, D-LMA President Jessica Lappin and D-LMA Chairman Ric Clark

At the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (D-LMA) annual meeting, held on March 30, 2018, Rick Cotton, Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spoke of the progress at the World Trade Center campus, his vision for the future of the Port Authority and the confluence of the Port and D-LMA’s missions.  

“We are headquartered at 4 World Trade Center. We view ourselves as part of the Lower Manhattan community,” said Cotton. “The Port strongly supports the mission of the D-LMA and we look forward to continuing to work with you as we ensure Lower Manhattan remains a vibrant business community.”

During his remarks, Cotton spoke about the transformation of the World Trade Center site into a premier office and retail destination. He highlighted the Perelman Performing Arts Center’s recent lease approval by the Port Authority in February and the positive impacts the Center will bring to Lower Manhattan. Groundbreaking is scheduled for next year.

“Over the past 15 years, the Port has dedicated significant resources to the revitalization of the World Trade Center. The results have been extraordinary. We are now at a place where we can talk about the completion of work at the campus and get the last critical piece [the Performing Arts Center] from the drawing board to reality.”

Executive Director Cotton also addressed key components of the Port Authority’s 10-year, $32 billion capital plan, which features prominent redevelopment projects at each of the region’s three major airports.  This includes the $8 billion comprehensive redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport, which will be the first new airport built in the U.S. in 20 years; the $2.7 billion construction of a new Terminal One at Newark Airport, which will break ground this spring; and the advancement of Governor Cuomo’s Vision Plan for JFK Airport, with a master planning process underway as well as discussions with terminal operators regarding their redevelopment proposals.

The executive director discussed his vision for the way forward as the Port addresses the key challenges facing the agency. He identified improved safety and security, a greater focus on ethics and integrity, increased diversity and inclusion and the implementation of global best practices for customer service as essential for the Port Authority’s future success.  

“Over fifty years ago, the D-LMA founding chairman David Rockefeller forged a partnership with the Port Authority and it’s amazing to see what we’ve accomplished and just how much this area has been transformed,” said Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association President Jessica Lappin.   

The Board of Directors, led by Chairman Ric Clark, also voted to elect new members to join the D-LMA’s 23-person board. Those elected were Roger Bagley of Hawkins, Delafield & Wood LLP, Daniel Birney of RXR Realty, Claire Dorfman of JP Morgan Chase & Co, Brian Johnson of WilmerHale and Thomas B. Leonardi of AIG.  D-LMA also welcomed 11 new member companies in 2018 including AIG; DTH Capital; Gemdale USA Corp; GFP Real Estate; Macklowe Properties; Magnum Real Estate Group; Metro Loft Developers, LLC; Milford Managment; Prodigy Network; RXR Realty and W New York-Downtown Hotel.

David Rockefeller Dies At 101, Legendary Banker & Philanthropist Was Pioneer In Revitalizing Lower Manhattan

David Rockefeller, founder of the Downtown- Lower Manhattan Association, and whose masterful and tireless advocacy helped ensure the rebirth and growth of Lower Manhattan, died at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York. He was 101 years old. Mr. Rockefeller was the chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank and the former chairman of the board of the Rockefeller Group. A businessman, philanthropist and global statesman, he was a role model of civic leadership whose influence extended far beyond Manhattan.

Jessica Lappin President of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association remembered Rockefeller as “a man whose vision was synonymous with the long term. What he saw and helped bring about could be measured in decades and generations, not mere weeks, months or years.”

In 1958, sensing that the Lower Manhattan business district was losing ground to midtown Manhattan, Mr. Rockefeller marshaled the support of downtown business executives and created the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (D-LMA). All told, between 1960 and 1972, about 45 new buildings – with more than 32 million square feet of office space – were built in Lower Manhattan. The Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association has been and continues to be a powerful advocate for Lower Manhattan’s most important businesses and institutions.

He is credited with spurring the rebirth of Lower Manhattan more than five decades ago. In the early 1950s, the historic neighborhood where George Washington took the presidential oath was declining. The streets were dark and deserted, and many companies were leaving. That all changed after Mr. Rockefeller, who was leading the effort to build Chase Manhattan Bank’s new headquarters, convinced the board to locate not in midtown, but in the heart of the financial district. 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza opened in 1960, providing a new and sunny public space and improving the overall reputation of Lower Manhattan.

The D-LMA led the charge for many of the significant developments in Lower Manhattan’s recent history, from the building of One Chase Plaza and the World Trade Center to the development of Battery Park City to the initiation of the 1993 Plan for Lower Manhattan and the formation of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District.  Most recently, the D-LMA has campaigned for projects and policies which support the post-9/11 rebuilding of Lower Manhattan and have contributed to Lower Manhattan’s remarkable revitalization.

At a ceremony honoring Rockefeller in 2000, the Alliance for Downtown New York’s Chair at the time Robert R. Douglass said that his longtime friend had “done more for Downtown, over a longer period, than anyone… From his time as assistant to Fiorello La Guardia, to his years as head of the Chase and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, David’s vision, perseverance and great skill laid the groundwork for today’s success.”

He is survived by four daughters and two sons. His wife of 55 years, Margaret, died in March, 1996.

Robert Douglass, Founding Chairman of the Alliance for Downtown New York and Civic Champion, Dies at 85

The Alliance for Downtown New York mourns the loss of Founding Chairman Robert Douglass today. In addition to his seminal role as the Alliance’s Chairman from 1995-2015, Douglass was also a lifetime director and former chair of the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association, and through every role he held was a staunch advocate of Lower Manhattan businesses and residents. He was 85 years old.

In his work with the D-LMA and as Counsel and Secretary to New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Douglass played a formative role in shaping downtown New York. His fingerprints were on everything from Battery Park City to the original World Trade Center.

For decades Douglass worked assiduously to make Lower Manhattan a premier global address for businesses, residents and visitors. Working closely with a small group of urban visionaries, Douglass helped reshape the neighborhood as an advocate for the conversion of Downtown’s vacant office space to residential properties and the establishment of a business improvement district.  Following the devastating attacks on 9/11, he became a leading voice on the efforts to rally and rebuild Lower Manhattan into the vibrant community that it is today.

“He was a giant and a gentleman, and it is nearly impossible to overstate his influence on this neighborhood,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin. “For more than 30 years, he championed Lower Manhattan’s growth and played a significant part in its recovery after the 9/11 attacks. As an advocate for businesses and residents, he has helped articulate a compelling vision for a Lower Manhattan for the 21st Century. Lower Manhattan simply would not be what it is today without him.”

After receiving the Liberty Award at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s annual gala in 2012, Douglass described Lower Manhattan’s extraordinary recovery after the 9/11 attacks and added: “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to have had the opportunity to play a part in this incredible transformation.”

In 2005, Douglass was appointed by New York Governor George Pataki to the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Pataki described Douglass as “a tireless advocate for Lower Manhattan for decades” and a “dynamic, committed leader who brings the vision, experience and expertise to ensure that we realize the Master Site Plan for the World Trade Center and ensure that Lower Manhattan remains the financial capital of the world for generations to come.”

The Downtown Alliance is forever indebted to Robert Douglass for his vision, service, and dedication to making Lower Manhattan what it is today. The city has lost a remarkable civic leader.

U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler Stresses Importance of Securing Lower Manhattan Resiliency

At this morning’s Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (D-LMA) annual meeting, Congressman Jerrold Nadler addressed the importance of continued efforts to secure Lower Manhattan’s resiliency and post-Sandy recovery. In speaking to the group of more than 100 Lower Manhattan leaders, the Congressman also spoke about his successful efforts to secure the permanent reauthorization of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and provide full compensation to survivors and first responders and survivors through the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Congressman Nadler was an advocate for Lower Manhattan’s inclusion in the federal government’s recent National Disaster Resiliency Competition funding, stressing the district’s vulnerability to coastal flooding and rising sea levels and the critical importance of protecting Lower Manhattan against natural disasters.

“It was an honor to join today’s Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association annual meeting and speak with the many community and business leaders who are building and growing Lower Manhattan,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “I am grateful for their efforts and to be working with so many of the members and directors of D-LMA on issues of importance to us all: access to health care, resiliency and protection in the face of impending climate change, and meeting the transportation and infrastructure needs for this thriving neighborhood.”


“It’s been an extraordinary year for Lower Manhattan since the D-LMA last met a year ago,” said Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association President Jessica Lappin. “We’re attracting ever more businesses and are continuing our dynamic growth. As this continues, it becomes even more important to make us more resilient and prepared for climate change than ever before. We’ve made some progress on securing funds to harden our shoreline, but now we have to ensure we are using funding to actually protect the shores of Lower Manhattan. I thank Congressman Nadler for his commitment and leadership on this effort.”



The D-LMA also voted this morning on a new slate of Directors. New Board Members elected today are: Irene Baker of JPMorgan Chase & Company; David Cheikin of Brookfield Properties Corporation; Chanda Gibson of Goldman Sachs; and Joel Steinhaus of Citigroup. Alan M. Scott, recently named the Chair of the Alliance for Downtown New York Board of Directors, was also elected as Chair of the D-LMA Board of Directors today. Robert R. Douglass, former Chairman of both organizations, was appointed lifetime director of the D-LMA at today’s meeting. Photos of the event can be downloaded here.