Post-Tropical Storm Sandy

Prepare They Did, Yet Property Owners Hit Hard by Sandy

In Lower Manhattan, Brookfield, Silverstein Properties, take hit from storm. Uptown, Gehry-designed IAC Building remains empty, could be weeks before Daily Beast, Newsweek, College Humor allowed to return.

At Brookfield Properties 1 New York Plaza, at the tip of Manhattan, water was pumped out from lower floors through the weekend, and company spokesperson Melissa Coley said it would be weeks before damages were fully assessed and tenants would be let back in.

Luckily, the World Financial Center, in the midst of the $250 million redevelopment, was spared:  “It was amazing to be on water and not suffer any damage,” she said.

At the World Trade Center development site, full construction resumed this week on all towers, a source close to developer Silverstein Properties said, calling it “a testament to the fact that the design is very robust.”

Very little mechanical or electrical equipment at the Trade Center was impacted, with any flooding occurring within underground parking garage levels; most electrical equipment and generators, both at 1 World Trade Center (managed by the Port Authority) and 7 World Trade Center, are situated on floors four and above.

“The human toll is huge,” the source said, adding that damage to the city’s buildings had much to do with building age and elevation.

To that point, Silverstein—which has $10 billion of development in the pipeline, including three of the new World Trade Center office towers—was working through Monday of this week to get 120 Wall Street, built in 1930 just off the East River, back into action as a result of more extensive damage caused by flooding.

The developer offered workspace at its 41-story, 921-luxury-unit River Place at 650 West 42nd Street for tenants to house employees during the storm. Credit rating and financial research company Moody’s, 7 World Trade Center’s anchor tenant, was among them.

In other cases, operations fell into the hands of data center and collocation services, which continue to assist clients impacted by the storm.

Power was restored to nearly all of Lower Manhattan on Saturday, but some landlords continued to rely on remote data service providers to run IT needs and, in some cases, even house their employees.

“We managed to assist a number of Lower Manhattan clients without disruption,” said Michael Wright, president of MFX, which provides data center and collocation services for a range of clients in Lower Manhattan. “One of the things we definitely didn’t anticipate was their needing our office space.”

While the data centers performed as expected, housing clients’ employees at the company’s Ridgefield Park, N.J., facility (owned by Kushner Companies, which owns The Commercial Observer) was not in the cards—but an offer was extended, and about half of the 40 employees taken in remained at the facility on Monday, said Raymond Roy, the company’s chairman.

“They took us up on it and that was nice, to be able to help in that way.”