HL23’s High Line neighbors object to crane

Jun.June 20, 2008 05:04 PM

Neighbors of Alf Naman’s flashy HL23 condominium building will seek to block its construction unless a crane to be located near the front of their building can be operated safely, according to court documents filed this week.

Sleepy Hudson and Highline Park, developers of the neighboring condominium building at 519 West 23rd Street, said the placement of a mobile construction crane would harm their building financially and would endanger residents. The 14-story Lindy Roy-designed condo building was completed in the fall of 2007.

Sleepy Hudson was responding to a lawsuit Alf Naman and his development company 23 Highline filed on June 9 against it, their condo association, the Department of Buildings and the agency’s acting commissioner, Robert LiMandri. The suit aims to get the city to lift a stop work order imposed April 30 on HL23, a 14-story building at 515 West 23rd Street.

The response to the suit was made in a hearing before New York State Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner on Wednesday.

Naman and HL23 needed but did not get consent from the neighboring developers to perform shoring work, according to the DOB. That work, which trespassed onto the neighboring parcel of 519 West 23rd Street, was completed in November 2007.

“Neither the Department of Buildings nor the courts should permit an admitted law breaker to go forward with his project as if nothing has happened merely because the developer claims that he performed his illegal act in a safe manner,” Paul Bonnar, president of the Leeds United Construction, the general contractor at 519 West 23rd Street, said in a statement.

Naman, in a telephone interview, struck a positive note.

“We are confident we will be successful with our papers,” he said, adding that the crane posed no danger.

“The crane is entirely on our property. We are not using a tower crane,” Naman said. “Basically, there is no reason they should be concerned.”

The HL23 development, designed by Neil Denari and located next to the High Line, has been held up since the April 30 stop work order.

An exhibit of the architecturally ambitious building at the Museum of the City of New York opened this week.

The Department of Buildings filed a motion at this week’s hearing that asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. The DOB claimed Naman did not first try to appeal the stop work order to the Board of Standards and Appeals, said Gabriel Taussig, an administrative law chief with the city’s Law Department.

When asked about the DOB filing, Naman said he believed the stop work order would be lifted by the court, making a trip to the board unnecessary.

“We have been a good and respectful neighbor,” Naman said. “We are very concerned with keeping the neighborhood happy, and trying to bend over backward. But there is no interest from this neighbor in having a relationship or a dialog.”

A ruling is expected sometime after July 17.

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