A pool patio collapsed into a high-rise garage. A sinking foundation forced residents to flee. An uncovered outdoor pool froze and cracked.
Building & Land Technology, the largest developer in Stamford, Connecticut is under fire as residents warn of safety issues, the CT Examiner reported. City officials plan to discuss the failures in a land-use committee meeting this month. Mayor Caroline Simmons ordered city engineers to contract with an outside firm for an independent investigation.
The collapse of the pool patio on Feb. 1 at Allure, a 22-story, 435-unit apartment building built in 2019, reminded City Representative Bradley Bewkes of last summer’s disaster in Surfside, Florida, where part of an oceanfront condominium fell, killing 98 people.
“In that case the pool deck also collapsed into the parking garage,” Bewkes said. “But the Florida building was 40 years old. It’s difficult to understand how it could happen at a new building like Allure, given the nature of today’s engineering technology.”
A spokesman for Building & Land Technology, which built and owns Allure, said the garage roof “has been inspected by multiple third-party structural engineering firms” and city building officials and engineers.
“The engineers are confident that the issue is limited to this specific area, and have designed a plan for repair, which is being reviewed by an independent engineer and the City of Stamford Building Department,” BLT spokesman Rob Blanchard said. The firm said last week it would inspect some of its other buildings.
Safety problems in Harbor Point buildings built by Building & Land Technology, a private company founded in 1982, don’t end there.
A woman who lives in Escape, another 22-story, 435-unit high-rise built in 2020, emailed city and state representatives to say the pool on the fifth floor wasn’t covered for the winter, so the water froze and expanded, possibly cracking the pool walls, deck and pipes.
She said she saw calcified “icicles” hanging from the ceiling of the garage, caused by dripping water.
“She sent us pictures of leaky pipes, cracks in the parking garage, water falling onto cars,” said state Representative David Michel. “These are brand-new buildings. These problems are way more than maintenance issues. These are structural concerns.”
Potential safety problems have been flagged at The Lofts, a former lock factory converted to 225 apartments that opened in 2010. BLT built The Lofts and sold it to GAIA Real Estate of New York for $395.5 million in 2016, city records show.
In May, Lofts property management company Cushman & Wakefield told most tenants that they had to move out by the end of July.
The reason: The 110-year-old building had begun to sink as a result of moisture in the soil underneath, according to Stamford building officials. The building frame was tilting, windows were cracking, and gaps were appearing around doors. There was no danger of collapse.
Building & Land Technology has built almost 4,000 apartments in Stamford in the last decade. Bewkes said it’s time to take a closer look.
“The city is developing at a rapid pace. Perhaps the city is not able to keep up with inspections,” Bewkes said. “Perhaps we need a better system.”
In December, the company sold a 537,000-square-foot office complex in Stamford for $235 million.
[CTE] – Dana Bartholomew