Allegation way off, no cranes at East Side site: JDS spokesman

Complaint claims crane working at 616 First Avenue site did damage to school -- but there are no cranes on the site

TRD New York /
Jan.January 24, 2014 03:38 PM

A spokesman for JDS Development has rubbished an allegation that a crane on the site of Michael Stern’s 616 First Avenue development punched a hole in an adjacent school. The Real Deal reported the allegation, which was cited in a complaint filed with the Department of Buildings, yesterday.

The representative noted that there are no cranes at the East Side site yet. “A piece of drilling equipment did come into brief contact with the party wall, causing very minor cosmetic damage to a small piece of the school’s façade,” the spokesman wrote in an email.

The complaint was filed last week with the DOB at 626 First Avenue against Stern’s LLC, 616 First Avenue, managed by JDS Development.  The school was not identified in the complaint, but New York University’s School of Medicine is adjacent to the site.

The filing with the DOB regarding the crane was done in conjunction with another complaint regarding damage caused by drilling too close to the adjacent brick wall without a protective fence. The partial stop work order that was put on the site to prevent crews from working near the damage has since been rescinded, according to the spokesman.

“The repairs will be completed tomorrow,” the spokesman wrote in the email.

This is the second time someone has cried wolf about a crane on the site. The first was in December of 2013 when a complaint alleged that two cranes had been seen swinging in heavy winds. The DOB investigated and found no crane on the property.

At the site, Stern is erecting a SHoP-designed residential high rise consisting of two towers curved inward and connected by a skybridge; one 40-story and another 47-story, between East 35th and 36th streets.

The project hasn’t taken off the ground yet. The Department of Buildings approved structural work on January 8, according to a plan exam application, but plans for the necessary ductwork, a 25-foot curb cut and the excavation have yet to be approved.

“It’s an iterative process back and forth,” Stern said in an interview about the progress on the development. “The zoning was approved and the foundation was approved, we’re waiting for the full approval now.” Construction crews are currently working on the foundation.

The building’s drawings have only been partially approved, according to the new building application. The design includes 799 dwelling units, 270 below-grade parking spaces for residents, a park leading to the riverfront, a rooftop infinity pool, a spa and fitness amenities and a daycare.

JDS Development paid $172.1 million for the property in February of 2013, purchasing the land from Sheldon Solow, according to city records. Stern, the president, called the project an “anomoly” in the market amidst soaring land prices.

“The only reason that deal was able to work was that it was such a large scale site the buyer pool was extremely limited,” Stern said previously to The Real Deal.

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