Silverstein Properties settles with US Attorney over disabled access at two projects

Preet Bharara alleged FHA violations at One River Place, Silver Towers

TRD New York /
Jan.January 06, 2017 01:50 PM

From left: Preet Bharara, One River Place, Silver Towers and Larry Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Silverstein Properties settled a lawsuit brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleging two of the developer’s rental projects are inaccessible to residents with disabilities and in violation of the Americans with Disabilities and Fair Housing acts.

The lawsuit pertained to two of Silverstein’s projects — One River Place and Silver Towers on West 42nd Street — which comprise 920 units and 1355 units, respectively. The two projects are among the biggest in Manhattan that benefited from the 421a tax abatement program.

The terms of the settlement were not immediately available. A spokesperson for Bharara’s office declined to comment.

In the lawsuit, filed Thursday, Bharara’s office alleged that excessive force was required to open doors at both projects and that there were excessively high thresholds at entrances to both individual units and bathrooms, openings were not wide enough for disabled access, power outlets were in inaccessible locations, and public spaces, such as laundry rooms and locker rooms, did not allow enough space for people in wheelchairs to turn.

“The widespread inaccessible conditions at One River Place and at Silver Towers reflect a pattern or practice on [Silverstein’s] part of failing to comply with the FHA,” the complaint said.

The suit also named the architect of the two buildings, Costas Kondylis and Partners, as a defendant.

Silverstein Properties is pleased to have resolved this matter with the government and remains committed to designing and building accessible housing for all New Yorkers,” a spokesperson for Silverstein said in a statement.

It wasn’t clear how much expense and time would be required to update the buildings.

The U.S. Attorney’s office brought similar suits against landlords such as the Related Companies and the Durst Organization in recent years.

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