City says Slate exposed tenants to lead-contaminated dust

The health department issued stop work orders at 1288 and 1290 First Avenue
February 07, 2017 01:05PM

From left: 1288 First Avenue, Martin Nussbaum and David Schwartz

UPDATED: Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4:30: Slate Property Group is in hot water with the city again — this time for allegedly exposing tenants on the Upper East Side to lead-contaminated dust.

The landlord, which purchased the Rivington House in a controversial deal last year, exposed tenants in two of its Upper East Side apartment buildings to hazardous amounts of dust containing lead, the city’s Department of Health told DNAinfo. Slate TRData LogoTINY kicked up the dust while renovating 1288 and 1290 First Avenue, which Slate purchased last April. The city’s DOH halted all work on properties until the dust is cleaned up. The developer maintained that once lead was discovered on the property, they addressed the issue immediately.

“Once Slate was alerted that there could be lead, we immediately stopped work to protect residents and workers, and cleaned the identified areas according to safety standards,” a Slate spokesperson said. “Slate then had samples tested to ensure lead was not present, and it wasn’t.”

Residents have also complained about a lack of heat at night and water leakage in the buildings during the renovations, according to DNAinfo. A spokesperson for Slate denied receiving any such complaints, saying that the company undertook renovations to correct hazardous conditions after taking over the buildings last year.

In the past year, Slate’s been the subject of intense scrutiny due to its purchase of the Rivington House for $116 million (along with partners Adam America and China Vanke). In July, the city’s Department of Investigation released a report that made it seem that Slate conspired to keep the deal quiet until the owner, the Allure Group, successfully lifted a deed restriction on the property. In December, the city acknowledged that it didn’t have a legal case against Allure, despite the mayor’s insistence that he would sue the developer for flipping the Lower East Side property.

Under pressure from the city, Slate also sold its stake in the controversial Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment project in Crown Heights to lead developer BFC Partners[DNAinfo] — Kathryn Brenzel 

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a statement from Slate Property Group.