The toxin-tainted Deutsche Bank building -- a disturbing legacy of the 9/11 terror attacks -- can finally be cleared from Manhattan's skyline, with the city's approval yesterday of a long-sought demolition plan.
While the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has declined to set a timetable for the project, documents included in the Buildings Department's demolition permit shows the expected completion date as Dec. 31, 2010 -- far later than what had been promised.
LMDC officials recently conceded that the latest plan for demolishing the tower would take longer than their earlier estimate of six months. But they have refused to set a timetable, saying only that it would be well before the end of next year.
LMDC President David Emil said he expects the demolition to begin on Nov. 2. Until a few floors come down, he said, it's too soon to be able to predict how quickly the work can be done and when it would be finished.
The tower suffered a 15-story gash on 9/11, and was filled with toxins from the collapsed World Trade Center.
Work to demolish the Deutsche building began in March 2007. It was expected to be done by the end of 2008.
But the project has had a history of setbacks, including an August 2007 blaze in which two city firefighters died, unable to get water from standpipes that had been cut. The fire and ensuing investigation stopped work for 10 months.
Costs have risen dramatically, too. In 2004, the price tag for demolition and cleaning the tower of toxins was put at $82 million. The cost now is estimated at well over $200 million, not including the $90 million the LMDC spent to buy the site.
Corruption charges have also hit former contractors. Yesterday, Robert Chiarappa, 45, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for billing the government for $1.2 million in supplies that were never delivered.
Chiarappa, who pleaded guilty, was the purchasing agent for demolition contractor John Galt Corp.
The firm was fired and charged with manslaughter after the two firefighters died.