The Daily Dirt: City cracks whip on troubled crane company

TRD New York /
Aug.August 13, 2019 11:00 AM
(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)

With the first construction training deadline looming, the city is cracking down on a company with a series of safety issues.

In April, a crane rigger was crushed to death at 570 Broome Street, the site of a 54-unit condo building in Soho. Three months later, a crane operated by the same company — United Cranes and Rigging — at an apartment building at 749 FDR Drive in the East Village partially collapsed. That happened after workers overloaded the machine, according to the city’s Department of Buildings. 

On Monday, two weeks after the latest accident, the DOB halted all crane work at sites run by United Cranes. The Long Island City company can’t resume work, according to the agency, until it replaces certain personnel who were supervising work at the East Village and Soho sites, along with 20 others.       

The agency’s response comes as a deadline looms for construction workers to meet heightened site safety requirements. In 2017, the City Council approved Intro 1447, now Local Law 196. It requires a combination of training courses administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — known as OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 — or a 100-hour program approved by DOB. 

Despite those measures, messages from city officials on the application of the law have been sort of mixed. Following a week in April when there were three construction-related deaths, including the United Cranes fatality, officials called for an acceleration of the new safety training rules. But a month later, the Council actually gave workers another six months to meet the first deadline. Workers now have until Dec. 1 to complete 30 hours of training, though the DOB can extend that deadline for another six months if they do so by Sept. 1.

Rockrose is making its first big play in Brooklyn. 

The firm, headed by the father and son team of Henry and Justin Elghanayan, are in-contract to buy a development site at the edge of Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, Rich Bockmann reports

Plans for the site, at 98 DeKalb Avenue, have not yet been made public, but it could accommodate several hundred thousand square feet of apartments. Rockrose paid somewhere in the ballpark of mid-$60 million, though the firm could purchase air rights from a neighboring property, which would push the price up to $75 million.   

While Rockrose is already established in Long Island City and Manhattan, this would be the firm’s first big venture in Brooklyn. The site is actually only a few blocks away from 33 Bond Street, an apartment building owned by Henry Elghanayan’s two brothers, Tom and Fred Elghanayan. Their firm, TF Cornerstone, recently ramped up its presence in the borough by taking over two sites at Pacific Park, where it’s planning to build two apartment towers.

What we’re thinking about next: What will become of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate? Send a note to [email protected]

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Monday was for a co-op unit at 955 Lexington Avenue in Lenox Hill, at $4.2 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an office building at 169 Empire Boulevard in Crown Heights, at $6 million.

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 60,000-square-foot residential building at 115 East 55th Street in Midtown. Zeckendorf Development filed the permit application.

The priciest residential listing to hit the market on Monday was for a condo unit 200 West End Avenue in Lincoln Square, at $6.9 million. Halstead’s Lori Rosenblatt has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listings New York” is casting again. The network has a casting call every year in order to keep track of fresh new talent, a source close to production told Erin Hudson. The casting application asks for annual sales volume, the range of the broker’s listings and, my personal favorite question, “What makes you an impressive player and one to watch in the real estate market?” But here’s another question: Will this casting call result in a female broker joining the cast? Others in the industry, including, EA Stribling-Kivlan, former president of Stribling, now senior managing director, real estate at Compass, have repeatedly called on the show to diversify its cast.

Top stories from our other markets:

As prosecutors work to determine the full scope of Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune in the wake of his apparent suicide, more details are emerging about ties to his brother, Mark. Like Jeffrey Epstein, his brother’s wealth is also shrouded in mystery. But records link Mark in a business relationship with his brother through a Manhattan building, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A New Jersey-based investment firm bought an eight-story office building near the former McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, where a new mixed-use development is in the works. Fairbridge Properties paid about $43 million for the 233,166-square-foot office property, according to GlobeSt. The deal for the complex at 1111 West 22nd Street worked out to $184 per square foot.

WeWork is by far the biggest co-working company around, but numerous niche providers have been trying to carve out space in an increasingly cluttered market. Those include wellness-centric Well Work Win and women-focused The Wing. The latest entrant, Blackbird, focuses on women of color and will open its first location in Los Angeles next month. More locations are being considered, including one in Oakland, along with others in New York City, Atlanta and eventually London, Paris and in South Africa.

The financially troubled and now-closed Hotel Astor is on the market for $12 millionThe 42-room, three-story hotel at 956 Washington Avenue was renovated in 2014 using $9 million raised from EB-5 investors. It closed nearly a year ago after the ground lessor, 1651 Astor LLC, filed a lawsuit to evict the hotel from the property. Manny Chamizo of One Sotheby’s International Realty was hired to sell the leasehold interest for $12 million, or nearly $286,000 per key.

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