The U.S. Attorney’s Office has slapped the Related Companies with a lawsuit alleging two of the developer’s buildings are inaccessible to residents with disabilities and therefore in violation of the Americans with Disabilities and Fair Housing acts.
The buildings in question — One Carnegie Hill at 215 East 96th Street and Tribeca Green at 325 North End Avenue – have kitchens and bathrooms with too little floor space for wheel chairs to maneuver, bathroom features that make grab bar installation difficult, a lack of braille lettering in the buildings’ common areas and high steps and thresholds that “interfere with accessible routes,” the suit charges. The complain also takes issue with the width of doors and entry-ways, the New York Observer reported. The suit also names the architects of the two buildings, Robert A.M. Stern and Ismael Leyva, charging them with “failing to design and construct covered multi-family dwellings and associated places of public accommodation, so as to be accessible to persons with disabilities.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office aims to have all future Related projects, including the residential tower at 15 Hudson Yards, placed on hold until the developer addresses the issues alleged in the lawsuit.
“We will not allow developers and architects who deprive people with disabilities of accessible housing to evade the consequences of their failure to comply with clear, long-standing federal civil rights laws,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement cited by the Observer.
Related told the Observer it hopes to iron out a resolution with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We have labored in good faith to reach a resolution, going substantially beyond what we felt was legally required,” Related said in a statement to the Observer. “Unfortunately, for the time being, we have reached an impasse with the Government which we believe is asking for things not required by law.” [NYO] – Julie Strickland