The Real Deal New York

As Brooklyn booms, construction defects spike

Some fear mistakes from the last housing boom are being repeated
March 09, 2015 09:10AM

While developers are swiftly breaking ground on new projects all over Brooklyn and taking advantage of high property values, the quality of their buildings might be suffering.

As more residents move into the newly built construction, some worry that mistakes from the last housing boom — shoddy construction, bringing substandard product to the market — are being repeated, according to the New York Times.

“My phone is ringing already on projects that were just completed,” Steven Sladkus, a real estate lawyer who does construction defects cases, told the newspaper. “Uh-oh, here we go again.”

While the recession caused many untested developers to abandon projects — leaving more seasoned developers in charge to finish those buildings — they’re now back with new plans, the newspaper reported.

“It’s like the developers did not learn their lessons,” real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey told the newspaper. He added that he has seen an uptick in complaints from residents of new construction.

One such example in Brooklyn is 500 Fourth Avenue, a 156-unit condominium, completed in 2010 and developed by Itzhak Katan — who is behind nine projects in Brooklyn — and four members of the Matrisciani family. In July 2013, according to the Times, concrete fell from the building’s facade and balconies due to cracks. As a result, the Department of Buildings prohibited residents from stepping foot on their balconies.

Katan is being sued at two of his Brooklyn developments, the Crest and Park Slope Views, according to the Times. At Novo, a project Katan developed together with Shaya Boymelgreen, construction defects were reported, according to the newspaper. Boymelgreen has also been sued for construction defects in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. The attorney general is currently investigating Boymelgreen for problems at his condo conversion at 15 Broad Street in the Financial District. [NYT] — Claire Moses