Friday, April 27, 2012

1 WTC to Become City's Tallest Next Week

As One World Trade Center inches closer to replacing the Empire State as the tallest building in New York, a newly released time-lapse video documents the building's epic construction, from inception to what it is today in just two minutes.

The video, produced by EarthCam, captures 1 World Trade's historic rise, which is expected to hit a major milestone to surpass the Empire State building's 1,454 feet as early as Monday.

1 World Trade Center is slated to complete construction at the end of 2013 and will stand at 1,776 feet tall.

Riverhouse Developer Admits to $2M Fraud

Two executives at real estate development and management firm Sheldrake Organization have pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain $2.2 million from its lender, a foreign-owned bank, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the New York Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced. The additional money was for the $573 million Riverhouse condominium project in Battery Park City.

Sheldrake President J. Christopher Daly, and Michael Abreu, its director of asset management, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. They face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Sheldrake won a competitive bid back in 2004 to build Riverhouse, a 258-unit luxury condo project located at 1 River Terrace.

“Christopher Daly and Michael Abreu carried out a duplicate invoice scheme in which they exploited a bank to secure an additional $2 million for their development project,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, in a statement. “They ended up on the losing side of their real estate scheme and will now be punished for their crime.”

Since 2006, when Sheldrake began construction of the $573 million Riverhouse, the developer struggled to make payments to the Battery Park City Authority, the New York state public-benefit corporation in charge of development and maintenance of the neighborhood. Sheldrake struggled to make timely payments to the Battery Park City Authority and failed to ever pay its balance in full, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In 2007, Messrs. Daly and Abreu submitted duplicate invoice from the Battery Park City Authority to its lender, which funded the invoice and continued to do so for future invoices that were already paid. The lender wired monies to Sheldrake's bank account.

“Postal Inspectors will vigorously pursue and bring to justice those individuals who use the U.S. Mail in the furtherance of criminal schemes against financial institutions, both foreign and domestic,” said Ronald Verrochio, New York USPIS Inspector-in-Charge, in a statement.

According to published reports, Sheldrake was removed as managing member by its partner on the project, a Lehman Brothers partnership, two years ago. Centurion Real Estate Partners assumed control of the 32-story tower.