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EDC President James Patchett Joins D-LMA At Annual Meeting

Westfield World Trade Center’s Shari Hyman, Howard Hughes Corporation’s Saul Scherl, CBRE’s Bruce Surry and Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Karrin Wilks Elected to Board

D-LMA President Jessica Lappin and EDC President & CEO James Patchett

James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, joined the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association on (D-LMA) March 12, 2019. During his remarks, he touted New York City as a destination for tech companies despite Amazon’s recent decision to pull back from HQ2 in Queens.

“I am excited for the future of the tech industry in this city,” said Patchett. “One World Trade Center has more tech and creative firms than any other building in New York. The city has 9,000 startups. Venture capital funding to startups in the city has increased 1,400 percent since 2007. New York has 2.3 million people with at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s more than Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, combined.”

During his remarks, Patchett discussed the particular technology fields where New York holds an advantage over other cities, citing cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, modern manufacturing, biotech, and life sciences. Patchett pointed to related projects in Long Island City and the Urban Tech Hub at Grand Central Tech as signs of EDC’s commitment to these growing sectors.

“These are exciting industries that will continue to grow and we will support them. New York is at the intersection of data science and biotech and that puts the city in a unique advantage. If we take the right steps at this seminal moment, it will put us in a strong position.”

Patchett also emphasized that it is imperative that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to acquire the skills required for the good-paying tech jobs that are coming to the city.

“It is our duty to continue to level the playing field so that a kid from the Baruch Houses knows they can get a job at Google. We will continue to raise the bar so all New Yorkers have the skills for the jobs of the 21st century.”

Prior to his talk, D-LMA President Jessica Lappin opened the meeting with a review of exciting developments in downtown last year.

“2018 was a strong year for Lower Manhattan,” said Lappin. “On the east side, at the Seaport, Pier 17 opened. Over on the west side, 3 World Trade Center opened in June. The 80-story building was more than half leased by the end of the year. The Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center is also progressing, with substantial advances in construction and fundraising. Whether it’s east or west, the D-LMA continues to serve as a voice for you, advocating for our neighborhood.”

The Board of Directors, led by Chair Ric Clark, also voted to elect new members to join the D-LMA’s 23-person board. Those elected were Shari Hyman of Westfield World Trade Center, Saul Scherl of The Howard Hughes Corporation, Bruce Surry of CBRE and Karrin Wilks of the Borough of Manhattan Community College. D-LMA also welcomed two new member companies: Colliers International and Hidrock Properties.


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.