After worker dies, Williamsburg condo project paused, GC fined

Penalty was among $800K in fines issued by DOB in April

New York /
Jun.June 03, 2021 09:00 AM
5718 3rd Avenue, 710 Metropolitan Avenue and 286 Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn (Google Maps, StreetEasy, DOB)

5718 3rd Avenue, 710 Metropolitan Avenue and 286 Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn (Google Maps, StreetEasy, DOB, iStock)

Construction management firm Gotham New York was slapped with $59,900 in fines at a Williamsburg construction site, where a worker fell to his death.

The city’s Department of Buildings issued the financial penalties in April for “failure to institute safety measures during the erection of a scaffold” at 710 Metropolitan Avenue. The agency issued additional violations for deficient safety training for workers, lack of guard rails and poor maintenance of vertical safety netting. A stop-work order was issued at the site — where a 68-unit condo conversion project was underway — on May 5.

Gilbane has since taken over construction management, according to a source familiar with the project. Gotham, which amassed $105,000 in fines at the site before 2021, and the sponsor of the conversion, SL Development, did not return a request for comment.

The project, dubbed the Umbrella Factory, is seeking a sellout of about $95 million.

Other major fines handed down by the DOB in April include two $50,000 penalties for signage violations in Brooklyn.

Off the Gowanus Expressway at 5718 3rd Avenue in Sunset Park, WK Management Group was fined for displaying an advertising sign within view of an arterial highway without a permit, and for not having a licensed sign hanger erect the sign. A 2019 photo of the building shows a sign suspended from the third floor facade advertising licensed contractor services.

The landlord at 286 Hamilton Avenue in Red Hook was fined for displaying outdoor signs “contrary to building code and zoning regulations.” A photo taken in 2020 shows a rental unit and a business in the building being advertised.

The placement of signs is strictly limited in residential districts. In 2019, the City Council created a task force to waive certain penalties for sign violations by passing Local Law 28.

But not all signs are created equal. The last building application at the Red Hook site, approved by the DOB in 2005, was to attach and light billboard signage. (The back of the building features a large mural celebrating the culture of Red Hook.)

A $15,000 signage penalty was given to the landlord of 142 5th Avenue in Flatiron for “displaying an advertising sign without a permit and in a prohibited zone, and for failing to register as an outdoor advertising company.”

Overall the DOB issued $802,800 in fines in April for 68 violations for failure to safeguard construction sites, illegal building alterations and construction superintendents who the agency says failed to carry out their professional duties.





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