A lawsuit over payment has supposedly brought construction at City Point in downtown Brooklyn to almost a complete standstill, according to a story in New York Yimby. According to an anonymous source quoted by the publication, 120 workers walked off the site November 11 in connection with the suit. The blog also alleges that City Point’s developer, Albee Development, has failed to pay several contractors involved in the project.
Everything started when Albee replaced its concrete contractor, Casino Development, with another contractor earlier this month. Afterward, Casino filed suit against Albee disputing its payment and alleging that the developer had prevented Casino from removing its equipment, including more than $1,000,000 in steel framework.
City Point spokesperson Tom Montvel-Cohen told us that the workers had not “walked off” at City Point but had left because the contractor was replaced. Albee removed Casino from the project because the contractor did not meet agreed-upon construction milestones, he said. He also said that City Point is not delinquent in paying any of its contractors and that “erection of steel and masonry are proceeding without interruption.”
This is not the first lawsuit City Point has dealt with. In May, a group of unions, politicians and community groups sued the city and the developer over allegedly low wages. The suit was dismissed in October.
Forest City Ranter last week sued New York City to ask for a reduction in the assessed value of one of its as-yet-unbuilt Atlantic Yards sites. Forest City is seeking to reduce the amount it would pay in tax, DNAinfo reported.
The developer already has received at least $761 million in subsidies from the government, according to the publication. The site in question, on the southern side of the project, is Block 1129 — currently a parking lot. The Finance Department valued it at $11,200,000. FCR says it’s worth about $1,600,000. Technically, FCR doesn’t pay property tax, but rather something called “payments in lieu of taxes,” or PILOTs, because it leases the land from the city.
If all this sounds familiar, that’s because last year the company filed another lawsuit charging the city had overvalued Barclays Center. Three days after DNAinfo reported the lawsuit, FCR dropped it, saying it was filed in error.
Above, the railway over which some of the Atlantic Yards project will be built.
Some investors are suing some developers for fraud concerning an unspecified address in Williamsburg, according to an item that appeared in publication Law360 and was picked up by The Real Deal.
We searched public records and found the LLC is connected to three addresses on one block, one of which, 195 Berry Street, above, is part of a complex along North 4th Street between Berry and Bedford where Whole Foods is supposed to be locating. That particular site has been stalled for years, although recently we noticed the roof had been removed.
The lawsuit by financial backers Cornwall Management and Russian investor Oleg Soloviev alleges that developer North 3rd Development, hedge fund Thor United, and Atlant Capital Holdings purposefully misled the investors to defraud them of $2.2 million by defaulting on their loan agreements, then arranging a short sale of the property to a company controlled by one of the developers. The suit asks for $3.6 million.
The entity North 3rd Development is connected with 195 Berry, 248 Bedford, and the townhouses at 129 North 3rd Street, according to PropertyShark. The Real Deal specifies that the property in question is a “$119 million residential project.” Anyone know more?
Had a judge known Forest City Ratner changed its Atlantic Yards construction timetable from 10 years to 30 years in 2009, Barclays Center may never have been built, according to a ruling in a legal case about the controversial development made public yesterday. In her decision, she said that the Empire State Development Corporation owes community groups legal fees incurred during a lawsuit to compel an environmental impact study for the second phase of the project. Because of an agreement with the ESDC, Forest City Ratner will have to pay the costs, according to a press release about the matter put out by one of the plaintiffs, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “We’re gratified by today’s decision, but the fact remains that, as Justice Friedman suggests, had the ESDC and Forest City Ratner not knowingly misrepresented the facts to the court, the entire Atlantic Yards project, including the heavily subsidized Barclays Center, would never have gotten off the drawing board,” said Candace Carponter, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s legal director, in the release.
The condo board of 96 Rockwell Place has filed a lawsuit against the building’s developers in New York State Supreme Court because the building has no permanent certificate of occupancy. The conversion of the former piano factory was finished in 2009 and a temporary c of o expired in July, according to a story in The Real Deal. “The lapsed TCO has all but halted the ability of the condominium’s residents to sell, refinance, [or] obtain homeowner’s insurance, but even worse, may have caused many unit owners to default on their mortgages,” said the suit. The building was converted by Joshua Landau and Eric Derector. “The sponsor’s interest is, and always has been aligned with the condominium board,” said Landau said in an email to The Real Deal. “The Department of Buildings has granted numerous TCOs in the past for the premises and we are working diligently to resolve any additional requirements they may have. We expect the matter to be resolved as soon as possible.” In July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the developers to offer to let buyers out of their contracts, after the condo board complained about construction and financing problems with the building.
In spite of a court order and in the middle of a terrible heat wave, Long Island College Hospital is sending the last of its patients elsewhere and plans to close over the weekend, according to multiple reports. SUNY issued another closure plan late Wednesday, ordered staff to discharge any remaining patients, and told doctors to expect termination letters, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, the hospital is near empty but staffed and losing $15,000,000 a month, mostly in salary. SUNY said it is not violating the court’s temporary restraining order because it has filed an appeal and therefore no restraining order is in effect, reported Crain’s. Nurses said emergency response times are slower “because ambulances have been lined up at Methodist Hospital in Park Slope trying to unload patients there,” according to the New York Post. “I spoke to a woman yesterday whose mother waited two days to be seen at Methodist Hospital because they were so backed up,” the paper quoted a paramedic as saying. The closure has bigger ramifications, according to the Times: “The hospital’s grim fate illustrates how health care is changing in New York and in the country, as hospitals confront seismic changes in patient care and how it is financed.” But perhaps more to the point, as the Times also said: “The huge red brick building in Cobble Hill stands on the border of Brooklyn Heights, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline that make it more valuable as a real estate development site than as a medical center.”
Two industry associations, The Mechanical Contractors Association and The Plumbing Foundation, have sued the city, specifically the Department of Buildings, claiming that the agency has wrongly allowed Forest City Ratner to circumvent building codes in its use of prefab construction to erect the first Atlantic Yards tower, several news outlets reported. The units are partly preassembled at the Navy Yard and then delivered to the building site, at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. Spokespeople for Ratner and the city disputed the suit. The factory workers are union labor overseen by a licensed engineer, and they do not attach plumbing or electrical systems, according to Forest City Ratner. “The units are then delivered to the building and installed, and all plumbing connections are made by licensed plumbers,” said a spokesman quoted in the Daily News. The city said code requires “a licensed tradesman” to install plumbing and fire suppression systems only at the building site, not elsewhere. The lawsuit could potentially delay the completion of the first building, which was supposed to happen by next summer, said the Daily News.
It’s a situation likely to repeat itself as the Bushwick lofts area becomes increasingly popular and valuable. The residents and landlord of 13 Thames Street have been fighting for years over the use of a factory space that is not zoned for residential. The tenants, some of whom identify as anarchists and frequently held arts events in the space, were ordered to vacate last year. Now the new owner of the building has applied for a liquor license for a bar in the contested space, according to DNAinfo. The tenants had applied for protection under the loft law that went into effect in 2010, and they sued in January to be allowed back into the building. The order to vacate was for “illegal obstruction of the entrance” and for operating a “nightclub” in the building, according to the DOB. The building was also in the news last year when tenants claimed the landlord had hired a biker gang to harass them. The police have raided the building at least twice, in one case in search of people who were broadcasting live video of Occupy Wall Street protests. The new loft law provides a path for renters of industrial space to legally live there. It passed with the backing of the former State Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who has been extremely influential in housing in Bushwick and throughout New York City. The City considers the Bushwick industrial area “East Williamsburg” but locals have called it Bushwick since at least the early 20th century. Sued Building Owners Want to Replace Evicted Tenants With Bar [DNAinfo] Photo by PropertyShark
The very large Gothic Art Deco co-op at 130 Clinton Street, aka 150 Joralemon Street, plans to sue Citi Bike this week over the location of a bike share station in front of the building, The New York Post reported. The station is blocking garbage collection, according to the story. “We were never notified that we were selected until after everything was in place,” resident Ken Wasserman was quoted as saying. The building has 89 apartments as well as commercial tenants. Rough Ride for Bike-Share Sites [NY Post] Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark
The Communication Workers of America last week released a report condemning Cablevision’s Internet service in Brooklyn. In many Brooklyn neighborhoods, Cablevision is the only option for cable Internet service. Cablevision’s approximately 300 technicians and dispatchers in Brooklyn are members of the CWA. The report contends that service in Brooklyn is significantly slower than Cablevision’s service in the Bronx, based on testing data, and that Brooklyn is dotted with faulty and outmoded equipment. The report claims Cablevision is purposefully “leaving Brooklyn behind” to break the union. Above, a photo purportedly showing some broken cable equipment held together with duct tape and hanging no higher than six feet off the ground at 2022 Jerome Avenue in Brooklyn, according to CWA. In December, before the report came out, Cablevision sued CWA for defamation, saying the union was making false claims about the speed and quality of its service in Brooklyn, New York Business Journal reported. Photo by CWA
The sale of the old Domino sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront to Two Trees is now cleared to proceed. The State Appellate Court threw out the last remaining lawsuit filed by the Katan Group against partner CPC, the New York Observer reported last night. The decision came right on the heels of an earlier temporary injunction by the appeals court to block the sale while the courts reviewed the case. Two Trees has not yet said what it plans to do with the site, but expectations are that it will be turned into residential housing. Domino Suit Thrown Out [NY Observer] Court Throws Out Domino Lawsuit [Brownstoner]