Skip to main content

At B2 modular tower, unresolved construction violations and $12,000+ in unpaid fines

As we wait for the (delayed) lottery for affordable housing at the B2 modular tower (aka 461 Dean Street) to open, it's worth noting that building has unresolved construction violations--one said to be "immediately hazardous"--leading to $12,000-plus in unpaid fines.

My query about the violations to developer Forest City Ratner--this building is theirs, not part of the Greenland Forest City Partners joint venture for the rest of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project (excepting the Barclays Center)--did not get a response.

That said, the "immediately hazardous" violation may no longer be hazardous. It regarded a standpipe which supplies water for firefighters in a high-rise building, said to be unready at the 16th floor.

More recently an inspection did find a standpipe functional at the 28th floor. Still, both violations require a re-inspection by the Department of Buildings (DOB) to certify compliance.

I queried Marisa Senigo, spokeswoman for the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), which oversees the Environmental Control Board (ECB), which hears DOB violations. Her response:
In both of these cases, the respondent did not appear at the scheduled hearing and the legally mandated default penalty was imposed. After 45 days of the penalty not being paid, OATH docketed them as unpaid judgments in NYC Civil Court. The judgment is in collection, so the jurisdiction is now under the Department of Finance, which is the agency responsible for collecting monies owed to the City of New York. DOF will begin to add interest and begin formal collection activities. The respondent can either pay the penalty to DOF or they have the option of requesting a new hearing at OATH since all respondents have one opportunity to request a new hearing after a default. However, only if the request is received by OATH within 45 days of the missed hearing will the request for a new hearing be granted automatically. In this instance, more than 45 days have passed so the requests for new hearings on these two summonses/notices of violation would go to a hearing officer who would determine if OATH can legally reopen the case. Read the NYC Rule that governs when a request for a new hearing can be legally granted by the ECB Hearing Officer.
An $8,000 fine, with interest, is now $8,181.48, while a $2,500 fine, with interest, is now $2,688.63.

Standpipe unready

According to a DOB violation found in July 2015, an inspector's visit found a standpipe "not in a state of readiness," thus generating the $8,000 fine. The site safety manager told inspectors that the standpipe was being tested.

Neither the penalty has been paid nor a certificate of correction apparently submitted, as the September 2015 hearing is listed as "default" status, meaning the respondent didn't show up.

According to the DOB, such Class 1 (Immediately Hazardous) violations require immediate correction, which must be certified: "Failure to certify correction will result in the issuance of a DOB violation with a $1,500 civil penalty. The civil penalty is in addition to penalties assessed by ECB Court."

Indeed, such a $1,500 failure to certify penalty is pending, issued October 2015:

The fine must be paid before the DOB can sign off on the building.

Lack of approved plans

In an even earlier inspection, in December 2014 the DOB found a violation involving the failure to provide approved plans at the job site, and imposed a $2,500 penalty, which, after a January 2015 ECB hearing that ended in default, remains unpaid. 

This is a Class 2 Violation, considered a Major Violation, which "affects life, health, safety, property, or the public interest but does not require immediate corrective action."

A standpipe, found

Just in the last month, on 3/10/16, the Fire Department of New York requested an "inspection for unsafe conditions due to the standpipe not located near the working floor."

On 3/31/16, a standpipe was found in readiness at the 28th floor, meaning no violation was warranted. As noted, that suggests that the earlier violation may have been functionally resolved.


Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …