The Real Deal New York

Nearly 3 months after death, Fortis resumes all work at 161 Maiden Lane

A worker fell from the site in September
By Kathryn Brenzel | December 12, 2017 02:30PM

Rendering of 161 Maiden Lane (Credit: Goldstein Hill & West Architects)

Nearly three months after the city shut down construction at Fortis Property Group’s 161 Maiden Lane, workers are allowed back on the project’s higher floors.

The Department of Buildings removed all stop-work orders related to a death on the site, where Fortis is building an 80-unit condo tower, agency officials confirmed on Tuesday. A partial stop-work order remains on the site, which prevents use of a small crane. (That order predated the fatal accident and is unrelated).

All work was shut down at the project on Sept. 21, after worker Juan Chonillo fell from the building’s 29th floor. He was wearing a harness, officials said, but it wasn’t hooked onto anything.

The DOB lifted part of the order late last month, allowing all work below the 21st floor to resume. The agency rescinded the rest of the order on Monday, after the project’s contractor, Pizzarotti, corrected a series of “violating conditions,” according to DOB representatives.

These conditions included “inadequate netting, housekeeping issues and the unsafe use of the platform system where the fall occurred,” according to the DOB.

Representatives for Pizzarotti and Fortis didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

DOB officials expect to issue additional violations once investigations by other city agencies conclude. It’s unclear how the months-long delay in construction will impact the project’s timeline. As The Real Deal previously reported, the condo offering plan filed with the state’s Attorney General’s office says closings are set to begin in January, with one clause noting that that if the first closing doesn’t occur by June 2018, Fortis must update the project’s budget. If the budget exceeds 25 percent or more of the original $273 million figure, buyers who went into contract on units can back out.