Vulnerable no more. The downtown area is a force to be reckoned with, with many upcoming projects and plans to further strengthen the downtown community.
The Downtown Alliance president, Jessica Lappin, recently discussed the future of the downtown area at a media event on Monday morning, specifically focusing on issues relating to the flooding experienced from Hurricane Sandy, and the growth of many businesses and tenants in the area.
One of the major issues brought up was the heavy flooding that occurred in the downtown area during Hurricane Sandy. As a result, the city drew up flood plans that were last amended in December, which Lappin feels did not pay enough attention to lower Manhattan.
“The needs, not just here, but across the city, are great. There are other parts of the city, like the Rockaways…that were incredibly harmed. But we were clearly one of the neighborhoods hardest hit, and we should be right up there when it comes to both short term and long term planning and implementation,” Lappin said.
Lappin stressed the importance of protecting the infrastructure and transportation because they all come together in the downtown area due to it being the world’s 4th largest central business district.
“It is really important for us to be protecting those assets, because if the subway system is shut down, the city is shut down. When the Battery Tunnel floods, it’s not just a problem for lower Manhattan.”
Despite the flooding issue, Lappin believes that good progress has been made, both in identifying short term programs that would have an impact, as well as longer term projects that have been a priority for the Alliance.
The downtown area has also seen significant growth with businesses and tenants, especially with Conde Nast moving to One World Trade Center. According to Lappin, the move downtown really makes a statement that the area is changing and developing. Water Street has also seen a number of tenants move in, which Lappin hopes that they can build on the momentum there.
“I think Water Street in general is a priority for us looking forward to build on its momentum…but something is happening organically on Water Street and it’s become a more attractive place for companies, but we think there’s a lot of potential there,” Lappin said.
Among the companies moving to Water Street include Hugo Boss, which the Downtown Alliance believes will lead to a different demographic coming to the area for shopping, not just tourists visiting the museums and 9/11 Memorial. The growth of retail and shopping centers in the downtown area will eventually translate to restaurants and bars opening to appeal to the demographic, which has already started to happen.
As for future plans moving forward, the Downtown Alliance plans to have more green markets, and green around events in the spring and summer to promote the local businesses and community. There are also plans to have more community engagements at different parks throughout the downtown area.
– by Jackie Hart