By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — Faulty equipment and unexpected challenges have delayed the demolition of the Deutsche Bank building yet again, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. announced Monday.
The long-troubled building, most recently scheduled to come down by the end of this year, is now set to be gone by about Jan. 15, LMDC officials said at a Community Board 1 meeting Monday.
"We did have a couple difficulties over the last month that added up to a small delay in the project," said Josh Rosenbloom, director of city operations for the LMDC.
The LMDC lost several days when the tower crane malfunctioned and it took contractor Bovis Lend Lease a couple of tries to figure out which part needed to be replaced, Rosenbloom said.
In addition, the sixth floor of the building proved more difficult to deconstruct than Bovis expected, Rosenbloom said. That floor housed much of the building’s mechanical equipment, so the concrete floor slab was thicker than the other floors and had more reinforcing steel, making it more difficult to disassemble, Rosenbloom said.
Crews are now in the middle of demolishing the fifth floor of what was once a 41-story office building.
In 2007, a fire broke out in the building while workers were demolishing it and two firefighters were killed. The blaze delayed the project and resulted in manslaughter charges for three construction supervisors.
While Rosenbloom said Monday that he does not expect any additional problems on the few remaining floors, he cautioned that bad weather could add more time to the project.
"At this point, anything that happens has a cascading effect [on the schedule]," he said.
Once the Deutsche Bank building is down, the LMDC plans to turn the site over to the Port Authority to build the Vehicle Security Center, a crucial underground loading dock for the World Trade Center. The LMDC hopes to give the Port preliminary access to the Deutsche site in January so the Vehicle Security Center is not delayed further, Rosenbloom said.
Several local residents were concerned about dust from the Deutsche demolition, and Rosenbloom promised to look into additional mitigation measures as the work moves closer to street level.
Allan Tannenbaum, a CB1 member, asked if the LMDC planned to hold a "bottoming out" ceremony when the demolition is finally done.
"Any [ceremony] would be extremely understated," Rosenbloom replied. "I don’t think anyone wants to declare victory over this."