City clears another 300 construction sites for “emergency” work

Work on more than a thousand sites continues during state ban

TRD New York /
Apr.April 06, 2020 04:10 PM
Map of essential active construction sites (Credit: NYC Department of Buildings)

Map of essential active construction sites (Credit: NYC Department of Buildings)

The number of emergency construction sites exempt from the state’s shutdown of non-essential work has jumped by more than 300 since last week.

According to a real-time map created by the Department of Buildings, “emergency work” is ongoing at 781 sites throughout the city, up from 402 shown on Friday. Emergency work on the map includes construction that would pose a public danger if left incomplete, as well as work by a lone person (which the state explicitly exempted) and work that has separately been approved by the city.

The exception also encompasses other essential project types — including affordable housing — if permits have been filed for such work at those sites. In other words, work on some of the emergency sites will be allowed to continue even after the emergency work is complete if they otherwise qualify for essential status.

The Department of Buildings indicated Monday that projects will remain on the map as long as permits are active.

Late last month Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down non-essential construction, exempting work for utilities, transit, healthcare and homeless shelters, as well as emergency work and affordable housing. Owners and construction managers could also apply to DOB to have work on their sites considered essential.

As a result of the state’s rules, work on some luxury high-rises and office towers may continue. In some cases, it is crucial to public safety, preventing fire hazards or unstable structures. For example, workers at SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America’s 200 Amsterdam Avenue are pumping water out of elevator pits to prevent electrical damage, according to the city.

But work on a large swath of housing is still considered essential. Under the state’s order, officials define a project as affordable if it has an inclusionary housing agreement or has set aside at least 30 percent of the apartments as income-restricted.

That includes Related Companies’ 15 Hudson Yards, a 300-unit condo and rental tower building, of which 107 units will be set aside for tenants making between 50 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.

Write to Kathryn Brenzel at [email protected]


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