A luxury loft development in a converted Stamford lock factory faces demolition as it shifts and tilts on a foundation built on rotting century-old wood.
The former Yale & Towne factory, now the 225-unit Lofts at Yale & Towne, is a “disaster,” an architect for owner Gaia Real Estate told the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, the Connecticut Examiner reported. Built by Building & Land Technology, the city’s largest developer, and opened in 2010, the complex at 200 Henry Street was one of five Stamford buildings purchased by Gaia for a combined $395.5 million in 2016.
“The north facade is tilting away from Henry Street, and the south facade is tilting in the same direction,” said Gaia Vice President Mor Regensburger. “So the entire building is tilting north.” Because of the movement, “It won’t be safe for too much more time.”
According to Gaia architects, the Harbor Point development sits on timber piles that are more than 100 years old and aren’t secured to bedrock. Gaia plans to build a new structure using concrete piles that are secured to bedrock. Tenants building 1 and 2 moved out in July and just 17 percent of units in building 3 are occupied, Regensburger said.
“It’s not an issue that it can’t be done,” Gaia’s Jim Sackett said. “It’s an issue of what you have to do to make it right.”
“I am astonished,” commission member Barry Hersh said. “I heard about problems with the building but to learn now that … a building that was rehabilitated about 10 years ago is essentially falling apart is mind-boggling. The idea that this big, strong-looking building is in this condition – I have to get my head around it.”
BLT is facing scrutiny for construction issues elsewhere. City engineers are investigating the collapse of a 15-by-20-foot concrete slab at a 22-story building on Pacific Street on Feb. 1. A preliminary investigation showed that the slab was missing concrete-reinforcing cables even though design drawings called for them. The city hired an engineering firm to review seven other BLT buildings in Harbor Point.
Gaia will now have to present ideas to the Stamford Zoning Board to determine what conditions must be met to demolish and rebuild The Lofts.
[TCE] — Victoria Pruitt