The Real Deal New York

Record amount of scaffolding covers NYC

These ubiquitous eyesores aren’t going anywhere

January 24, 2016 03:00PM

Scaffolding NYC


In New York, scaffolding seems omnipresent and everlasting. It’s an eyesore that, beyond obscuring pleasing building façades, cause pedestrian traffic jams. And now, there is a record amount of scaffolding covering city sidewalks.

A record 190 miles of scaffolding stands in NYC, enough to wrap around Manhattan six times, according to Crain’s.

Currently, the math for a building owner comes out on the side of building scaffolding and never taking it down. To erect a 200-foot-long stretch costs around $25,000 — half of which is paid upfront and the rest when the shed is taken down. Between construction and demolition, the builder gets about $700 a month in rent.

That may seem like a big expense for a landlord, but “suppose the building owner needed to replace loose bricks and masonry, tighten the parapet and waterproof the roof. If the building were higher than 15 stories, he would need to employ a full-time site-safety inspector, install protection over neighboring buildings, and put up a shed that extends 20 feet past the end of its façade in each direction,” Crain’s writes.

The cost of that could be in excess of $250,000, an amount many building owners simply can’t afford. Their solution is to simply put up a shed and sit.

To change that, the city would need to give the state the go-ahead to make reforms, which at present doesn’t seem likely, according to Crain’s.

However, the city does currently have legislation on the books requiring the Housing Authority to take down its sheds in a more timely manner.

“It’s completely demoralizing,” Laurent Delly, a broker with a master’s degree in civil engineering, told Crian’s.

George Mihalko, a shed equipment supplier added that “New York is insatiable right now when it comes to sheds. I’ve never seen anything like it in 30 years.” [Crain’s]Christopher Cameron