Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FreshDirect Breaks Ground on 500,000-sf HQ in South Bronx

FreshDirect has finally broken ground on its new food distribution center and corporate headquarters in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The online grocer, which has outlasted years of lawsuits, political wrangling and protests by neighborhood residents, will now deliver on its plan to relocate to the South Bronx. The construction of the new 500,000 square foot facility will create 685 construction jobs, with an overall economic impact to the city of nearly $255 million.

Fresh Direct, currently based in Long Island City, is building its new facility on a 16-acre parcel at Harlem River Yards in the Bronx, creating approximately 685 construction jobs.

The company purchases produce, meat and dairy from over 60 New York State-based farms and serves a customer base of over 100,000 people.

Fresh Direct plans to purchase 10 electric refrigerated electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles, and five additional electric refrigeration units that can be placed on existing trucks.

Smith Electric has announced plans to build a clean technology manufacturing facility in the South Bronx that will create more than 100 construction jobs.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 16, 2011]

Additionally, CSX is planning construction of a rail spur to connect the new facility to its operations in the Harlem River Yards. 

From its new headquarters, the company will expand its service area to regions surrounding New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, via the new railroad link.
FedEx, New York Post and Waste Management presently operate facilities within the rail terminal complex.

Fresh Direct has exceeded the growth projections outlined in the assistance package that was approved by NYCIDA in 1999 to incentivize then start-up Fresh Direct to invest approximately $51 million to purchase and renovate a 190,000 square foot facility in Long Island City.

Now, Fresh Direct has 1,963 full-time equivalent employees and by summer 2021, expects to have 2,927 full-time equivalent employees.

FreshDirect had threatened to relocate its operational hub and headquarters to New Jersey.

To encourage Fresh Direct to retain and expand their operations in New York City, a package of state and city incentives valued at nearly $130 million is being provided to augment the company's private investment.

Fresh Direct expects operations at their new expanded facility to commence in 2016.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Domino Sugar Project to Begin Construction in Early 2015

Demolition is almost complete at the 11 acre Domino Sugar site, which is being transformed into a mixed-use residential, office, and retail complex by Two Trees, the company that has developed much of DUMBO. Construction of the first building, on a vacant lot bordered by Kent and Wythe avenues and South 3rd and 4th streets, will break ground in the first quarter of 2015. The first building to open will have 500 rental units, including 100 affordable units, and is expected to be completed for move-in by spring 2017. 
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The developer has announced plans for the smallest of the three waterfront towers it plans to construct, which will be located at ‘Site A’ on the northernmost parcel of the campus.

The 30-story building at 262 Kent Avenue will be a mixed-use tower rising 320 feet and holding 281,869 square feet, split equally between commercial and residential space.

The building will host about 142,000 square feet of office space on the second through 17th floors in the structure’s north wing -- the most office space within the new towers. 

The remainder of the space will be spread out among 93 residential units beginning on the fourth floor of the building’s south wing.  Rental apartments will be relatively large, averaging about 1,500 square feet. The tower will also house commercial and retail space on the ground level.

Office space is a key component of Jed Walentas’ vision for the mega-development. Earlier this year, he asked the city for a rezoning of the property, allowing for an additional 382,000 square feet.

The majority of the project’s office space will be housed in the renovated refinery building. Two other buildings planned for the site, while larger, will be more residential-oriented.

The project’s southernmost building will be constructed on Site D, located at 320 Kent Avenue. That tower will climb 36 stories and house 470,106 square feet of space, more than 90% of which will be residential apartments. The building will have 41,801 square feet of commercial space.

The first structure to break ground will be at Site E, between South 3rd and 4th Streets, and will be the only tower not located on the waterfront.

The bulky 35-story building at 2 Grand Street will contain approximately 785,888 square feet, housing 658 residential units (half of which will be reserved for below-market rentals),  with a public school below.
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Plans for the tower which will rise on Site B, located between the factory and 262 Kent Avenue, are expected to be announced early next year.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Five More Big Construction Projects Coming to New York City

If you have ever been stuck in Midtown traffic, you know that New York City construction is booming. The signs are everywhere, from exposed steel for super tall skyscrapers in Manhattan to large cranes for massive apartment complexes on the Brooklyn waterfront. But some of the city’s largest projects are still waiting to get underway. Here’s a list of five more Big Projects about to get underway:

112-51 Northern Boulevard

Fleet Financial and Eastern Emerald Group have proposed a 25-story, mixed-use building for the former DiBlasi Ford dealership in Corona, Queens.

Plans call for a 292-room hotel and 257 residential units above to be constructed above 145,910 square feet of commercial space, which will be used as a convention center.

The building will house 175,090 square feet of residential space, and more than 50,000 square feet of retail space.

An underground parking garage will include 600 parking spaces.

See ElectricWeb | Blogger, March 31, 2014

262 Kent Avenue

Two Trees management plans to build another 30-story tower at its Domino Sugar Factory complex. This will be the firm’s third tower of waterfront development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

This project, covering a total of 281,869 square feet, will be split almost exactly between commercial and residential space.

The building will include 142,000 square feet of office space from the second through 17th floors. The remainder of the space will be spread throughout 93 residential units.

See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Oct 26, 2014

4275 Park Avenue

Developer Webster Avenue HDFC has plans to build a 12-story residential building at East 178th Street and Park Avenue, in the Tremont section of the Bronx.

The 211,520 square foot project that will rise on the site, currently occupied by a one-story warehouse, and will be divided among 248 low- and middle-income rental apartments.

Architecture firm COOKFOX will be designing the new building.

356 East 89th Street

Anbau Enterprises plans to construct a 198,890-square-foot residential building at southwest of East 89th Street and First Avenue, on the Upper East Side.

The builder purchased the location for $33 million in 2013.

The development, also known as 1717 First Avenue, will rise to 351 feet and have 78 luxury apartments, averaging about 2,400 square feet, divided throughout 34 floors.

The project, being designed by SHoP Architects, calls for 3,600 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the building.

1558 Third Avenue

DDG Partners has plans to build a 31-story residential tower at 1558 Third Avenue, on the Upper East Side.  The developers recently purchased the location from Muss Development for $70 million.

The new building at the corner of East 88th Street will stand 469 feet tall, and will span 183,781 square feet.

The development will include 44 residential units with 12-foot ceilings, averaging about 3,500 square feet each.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 5 - Largest Projects Coming to New York City

Amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, construction in New York City has been booming. From super tall skyscrapers in Midtown to massive apartment complexes on the Brooklyn waterfront, exposed steel and large cranes are everywhere. But some of the city’s largest projects are still on the drawing board waiting to get underway. Here’s our list of the Top-5 Largest Projects about to get underway:


#1:  500 West 33rd Street

The biggest upcoming development is a 3,423,666-square-foot tower at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street. 30 Hudson Yards will include 2.6 million square feet of office space, as well as one million square feet in retail.

Related Cos. hired architects Kohn Pedersen Fox to design the massive 80 story project. A loan for the tower is expected to close mid-2015, which is when the construction will begin.

Time Warner will be the anchor tenant, taking office space up to the 38th floor.


#2:  22-44 Jackson Avenue 


The second biggest project waiting to break ground is the former 5Pointz site in Long Island City. Demolition is presently underway on the derelict property, which was once a haven for graffiti artists.

Developers Jerry and David Wolkoff plan to build two towers costing $300 million - and totaling more than one million square feet - on the site early next year. 

The mixed-use project will include 1,000 new apartments, 12,000 square feet of artist studios and retail space. 210 apartments in the complex will be set aside and rent at below market rates.


#3:  606 West 57th Street  

TF Cornerstone is preparing to build a 42 story apartment on the corner of 57th Street and 11th Avenue.

The City Council's Land Use Committee approved a massive $550-million development in Hell's Kitchen in April.

The 992,938-square-foot development will be 440 feet and tall and include 40,000 square feet of retail space.

SLCE architects designed the complex which will house 1,028 new apartments, and replace a Lexus and Acura dealership at the location.


#4:  43-22 Queens Street  


Rockrose Development is preparing to build a 623,337 square foot residential complex on the site of a former Eagle Electric Warehouse in Long Island City.

The developer plans to leave the original structure largely intact as a base for the 54-story tower, which will rise to 580 feet and house 738 new apartments.  The project will also include 34,500 square feet of retail space.

Rockrose bought the warehouse in 2012 for $48 million, and has approximately 2,500 units of new housing under development in the Court Square area.


#5:  33 Bond Street

Developer TF Cornerstone is planning to construct a massive 600,000-square-foot complex of apartments and retail stores between Schermerhorn and Livingston streets in Downtown Brooklyn.

The future 33 Bond Street will rise 250-feet from the former site of a five-story parking garage located near the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which they bought for $70 million last year. The 25-story tower will house 714 rental apartments, of which 20 percent will be set aside as affordable housing.

The new building will contain 564,500 square feet of residential apartments with central air conditioning, and 30,000 square feet of retail space at street level.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

700-unit Liberty Gardens Project Ready to Rise in Gowanus

On a two-block stretch of Bond Street between Carroll and Second Streets, preparation is underway for construction of a 700-unit development, Liberty Gardens, overlooking the Gowanus canal. The two buildings at 363-365 Bond Street will rise as high as 12 stories, dwarfing low-rise residences nearby. Remediation and excavation at the site began earlier this year and foundation work for has already begun. The project has landed $120 million in construction financing for Phase I, which is scheduled to be complete in early 2016.

The Lightstone Group’s controversial 700-unit ground-up luxury development along the Gowanus Canal is moving forward.

Phase I will include construction of a 12-story building at 363 Bond Street that will span 249,600 square feet and house 268 rental apartments.

The structure will include 3,625-square-feet of retail space and 111 underground parking spaces.

The building at 365 Bond Street will have 161 apartments, including 86 units reserved for affordable housing.

Liberty Gardens will feature luxury amenities including: 24 hour concierge and doormen, valet service, an outdoor pool and sundeck, indoor basketball court, theater room, fitness center with yoga studios and spin rooms, children’s playrooms, lounges, libraries, game rooms, landscaped terraces, outdoor barbecues and dining, indoor gourmet kitchen with private dining, bike and tenant storage.

Apartment features include custom Italian kitchens with Bosch appliances and Quartz countertops, wide plank white oak hardwood floors, beautifully appointed custom bathrooms and in-unit Bosch washer/dryers.

The property will also have a waterfront esplanade and park on the Gowanus Canal, which will be open to the public.

The development is the first phase of a planned 700-unit rental project that was initially launched by Toll Brothers but abandoned in 2010.

Demolition work is presently underway next door at 388 Carroll Street, where construction on Phase II of Liberty Gardens is expected to commence late next year.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

800-Foot Flatiron Condo Project Moving Ahead

Bruce Eichner has secured $420 million in construction financing to build a 795-foot behemoth at 41-45 East 22nd Street, near Manhattan's Flatiron Building. The 60-story tower between Broadway and Park Avenue South will trump its neighbor—the 600-foot-tall, One Madison—by a hefty margin, making it the tallest building between the Empire State Building and Lower Manhattan. No completion date has been officially announced, but with financing in hand, ground breaking should be expected early next year.

Mr. Eichner spent more than $100 million to buy the land as well as air rights that would enable him to build the nearly 800-foot tower.

The new building will be located off the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, in a space currently occupied by low-rises.

The 83-unit condominium designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, would be just 50 feet wide at the base, but would expand like a slender champagne flute and be wider at the top, according to the architect.

In addition to its height, it will have a 17-foot cantilever over the adjacent 33 West 22nd Street.

A triplex penthouse on the 58th through 60th floors will cap the 400,000-square-foot project.

Similar to many developers moving ahead with new condo projects recently, Mr. Eichner is targeting the upper end of the market.

Similar to others, he has been emboldened by the high prices that are being fetched these days—more than $3,000 a square foot in Greenwich Village and more than $5,000 a square foot for units by Central Park.

What’s certain is that pricing at this property will be astronomical, given the large floor plans and relatively unobstructed views.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Harlem’s Tallest Building Coming to 1800 Park Ave

A large vacant lot between 124th and 125th streets, opposite the Metro-North station, will soon sprout Harlem’s tallest building. Rising up to 352 feet, 1800 Park Avenue will soon host a 32-story apartment tower housing 682 apartments across 633,700 square feet, with 63,200 square feet of retail space at street level. The project is being developed by Bruce Eichner‘s Continuum Company, which recently received financing to begin construction of an 800-foot condominium tower at 45 East 22nd Street, near Madison Square Park.

The new 352-foot residential structure will be the tallest building in Harlem, towering over the neighborhood with extraordinary views of the river and Central Park.

At 32-stiories, 1800 Park Avenue will top the 19-story State Office Building on West 125th Street by a large margin.

The Continuum Company picked up the 37,000 square-foot development site on the western side of Park Avenue for $65 million last year, and has hired ODA Architecture to design the project.

The site wraps the entire eastern end of the block between Madison and Park and East 125th and 124th streets.

Under New York City’s 80/20 program, 20 percent of the development’s 682 apartments will be set aside for affordable housing, while 545 of the apartments will rent at market-rates.

An East Harlem community board recently voted to approve a special zoning variance that will allow the project to include more retail space and less parking. Present zoning mandates that building developers provide parking spaces for 40% of all residential units.
“We think the trade-off between parking and retail is beneficial to the neighborhood,” said George Sarkissian, of Community Board 11, of the massive mixed-use project.

Construction on the retail portion of the project should be ready for occupancy within 24 months.

The 63,200 square-feet of ground floor and second-story retail will cut available parking to just 123 spots for the 682 unit complex.  Originally, the second floor was to have a garage with 304 parking spaces for building residents.

When completed, the 1800 Park Avenue will reach into the skyline as Harlem’s tallest structure.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Massive $550M Hells Kitchen Project to Begin in Early 2015

TF Cornerstone has landed a $384 million construction loan for its massive 1.2 million-square-foot development at 606 West 57th Street in Hell's Kitchen. The  $550-million rental building will contain 1,028 rental units, with 206 of those set aside for residents earning 60 percent of the area’s median income. The property will also house 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, parking for 400 vehicles, and a public pre-kindergarten school.

Standing just 42-stories, height is not the focus here... the structure is about sheer density.

606 West 57th Street will be composed of two 28-story structures with a 14-story cube cantilevered on top; it seems that even when overhangs aren’t necessary, they are becoming a common feature to new construction these days.

The stacking of multiple boxes will help to create a building that isn’t completely overbearing, allowing light and air through the structure itself.

The committee vote came after reaching a deal with the developer that adds an additional 10,000 square feet of “affordable housing” that would be affordable only to the top end of middle-income families, earning roughly $150,000 a year.

Those 15 new units would bring the total amount of affordable housing to 206 units.

The council members were focused on the neighborhood surrounding the West 57th Street development, where they feel there is a need for moderate-income housing that could go to people who presently live in the community.

Extell Development’s massive Riverside Center South on the Hudson River, between West 59th and 72nd streets, already includes hundreds of such, so-called, "affordable" units.

The developer agreed to a smaller garage with fewer parking spaces, to build a public pre-Kindergarten school, and to employ only union builders and staff the complex with 32BJ employees. The project will include 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and underground parking for up to 400 cars.

The site is currently occupied by several low-slung buildings, and plans are moving forward for demolition.

TF Cornerstone anticipates construction will begin next spring and will take two years to complete.

Across the street, another transformative residential project – The Pyramid – is moving forward. Most of the attention 57th Street receives is focused between Broadway and Park Avenue, but the street’s largest developments are, in fact, on the Hudson River.

Demolition on an existing garage structure and shuttered car dealership is set to commence before the year’s end. TF Cornerstone will begin construction on the project in the first quarter of 2015 and expects the rental building to be completed in the spring of 2017.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

38-Story Virgin Hotel to Rise at 29th St and Broadway

One of the city's most prolific hotel developers, John Lam, aims to break ground on a $300 million Virgin Hotel that will stretch along Broadway from West 29th to West 30th streets. The 440,000-square-foot hotel, designed by VOA Associates, will have 460 hotel rooms, with 80,000 square feet of retail space spread over five floors. 

Billionaire Richard Branson's first U.S. hotel will be a 38-story glass structure located on the northwest corner of West 29th Street at 1205-1225 Broadway, and stretching along the block front from 29th to 30th Street.

The 440,000-square-foot building will feature 460 hotel rooms — including two duplexes on the 34th and 35th floors –and 80,000-square-feet of retail space.

There will also be three restaurants and a banquet room. One of the restaurants will have access to a 12,000-square-foot outdoor space on the fourth floor.

The retail portion of the project will be the largest new store space in the neighborhood.

According to plans revealed by the developer, the retail breakdown is as follows: 24,753 square feet on the lower level, 18,163 square feet on the ground floor, 19,153 square feet on the second floor and 8,709 square feet of interior space for food and beverage service on the third floor.

Also on three, there will be two terraces totaling 8,833 square feet with unobstructed views of the Empire State Building.

The Lam Group paid nearly $88 million in 2011 and 2012 to acquire three properties fronting the entire block of Broadway between 30th and 29th Streets across from the popular Ace Hotel.

"The neighborhood is very exciting," Mr. Lam said, referring to the once gritty area north of Madison Square Park that in recent years has begun to blossom with the arrival of a number of trendy hotel and nightlife venues, including the Ace Hotel and the NoMad.

In terms of design, The Virgin Hotel will be the polar opposite of the Nomad and the Ace, that is, shamelessly modern. 

The Virgin is just one of several hotels going up in the area –a 21-story hotel is rising at 32 West 29th Street, as well as a Thompson Hotel at 11 East 31st Street.

Mr. Lam is familiar with the neighborhood. In recent years he developed a successful Four Points Hotel at 160 W. 25th Street, an affordable hotel brand operated by Sheraton.

Lam Group received approval to demolish the existing buildings on the site and demolition is expected early next year.

Construction of the hotel is slated to begin in mid-2015. The Virgin Hotel is expected to open in 2016.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

New Development Proposal to Relocate Javits Center to Queens

A spectacular new proposal suggests relocating the Javits Center to a platform above the 160-acre Sunnyside rail yards in Queens. The $8 billion development would create a new 3.1-million-square-foot facility 2 1/2 miles east of its present location. The plan would use state-owned land on Manhattan’s West Side and Sunnyside in Queens to create a new convention center in the outer borough while spawning new housing in both boroughs.

click to enlarge
It would be the largest development project in city history: 31 million square of space on 192 acres, constructed across three decades.

The plan’s prime boosters include former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, now the CEO of Bloomberg L.P.

Doctoroff was among the major movers in the city’s failed bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, where a new multi-use stadium was planned for the West Side.

Doctoroff argues that the creation of a 3.1-million-square-foot facility on a platform above the 160-acre Sunnyside rail yards could turn New York into a major player for convention business.

New York City currently ranks 64th in the world in convention-related income.

The chance to swap the West Side for Sunnyside is a “once-in-generations opportunity,” according to a detailed proposal of the plan.

click to enlarge
With the Javits Center gone, seven blocks of state-owned property would open for construction of new housing.

The money generated there would finance the Sunnyside platform and the $8 billion Exhibition and Convention Center.

The new center would provide an anchor for creating a Queens neighborhood above the rail yards — complete with new homes, office space, parks and up to 5,000 hotel rooms for convention guests.

Ideally, the new business hub in downtown Queens would also create tens of thousands of new jobs while creating a “technology corridor” along Northern Boulevard.

The proposal would signal a sad farewell for the Javits, opened with much ballyhoo in 1986.

click to enlarge
In its place would come a mixed-used neighborhood with commercial development along Eleventh Avenue, complete with condominiums and residential rentals on an 18-acre parcel of land.

The proposal promises to create 2,270 units of affordable housing in the Manhattan location, compared to more than 9,000 units of market-rate housing.

The Queens end would include 1,905 units of affordable housing, divided between condos and apartments. In all more than 25,000 new housing units would be created.

A proposal for the plan also notes that Sunnyside is accessible by seven subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, making for a short trip from Midtown.

No one is suggesting the process will be simple. The Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, launched in 2003, needed nearly a decade to open Barclays Center.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rockefeller University FDR Extension to Break Ground in 2015

Rockefeller University's plan to expand its 14-acre campus on a platform over the FDR Drive stretching from East 64th to East 68th streets, is $150 million closer to reality. David Rockefeller and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced they will each donate $75 million to the cause. The $450 million project involves building a platform over the highway to support four new buildings, repairing the seawall, fixing up the East River esplanade and construction of a $285 million, two-story flagship building.  

The facility, which will span almost three city blocks and house labs, administrative offices and a cafeteria, will be officially named the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus.

The 160,000-square-foot structure, housing two dozen labs and 440 scientists, would be built on a deck over the thoroughfare and span 927 feet. It would follow the platform the university built in 1989 over the thoroughfare for the Rockefeller Research Center.

The City Council gave the green light for the school’s expansion plan back in May.
The plan takes advantage of two, 1970s-era rulings that essentially gave Rockefeller University control of the airspace above the East Side traffic artery in order for it to expand, which it insists it desperately needs to do.

Such expansion is not unheard of—the university is sandwiched between highway platforms built by the United Nations and Weill Cornell Medical Center. However, the caveat has always been that the school would develop waterfront park space in exchange for the privilege.

Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901 to promote medical research, the school plans to construct three new buildings.As the university has done in the past, two of those buildings, a one-story conference center and a two-story research building boasting a green roof and rooftop pavilions, would be constructed atop a platform over FDR Drive.

Extending approximately four blocks from East 64th Street to East 68th Street, the new platform would join two other Rockefeller buildings straddling the highway, stretching from 62nd Street to 64th Street.

The third new building, an athletic center for students, would replace a faculty parking lot in the northwest corner of the existing campus.

"The new building is critical to maintaining the university's excellent standards for research and teaching, by allowing for the recruitment of new faculty to replace those lost by attrition, and for the renewal of laboratory space that is outdated and poorly suited to modern science," said a spokesperson.

“The low-rise buildings would not impede views of or from Manhattan, nor would they expand the university's size "in terms of personnel or activities."

This is thanks to an innovative design from local architect Rafael Viñoly, where the two-story building will actually be built into the platform, so that the roof is level with the rest of the campus. This will create a larger quad without taking up space on the expanded campus.

Rockefeller U hopes to finance the project entirely by private donations, a spokesman said.

The university will break ground on the platform in the second half of next year. Construction is expected to be finished in four years. 

This is the not the first time the university has expanded over the busy highway below. In 1987, a dormitory building opened atop a platform over the southbound lanes of the FDR between 62nd and 63rd streets.

Five years later, a new research building was finished over both lanes of the highway at 64th Street. The new platform will extend from there all the way up to the northern edge of the campus.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Fraud Persists in NYC Construction Programs for Women and Minorities

A Manhattan grand jury has determined that present laws and regulations are not enough to prevent fraud in New York City and State construction contracts. Diversity programs meant to steer contracts to businesses owned by women and members of minority groups show signs of widespread deception.

The grand jury report, released by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., found evidence of criminal fraud by several construction companies, spanning at least a decade and involving more than $10 million.

The schemes typically involved government contractors pretending to hire minority-owned companies that never performed the work.

“The unfortunate reality, as today’s report reveals, is that fraud within these programs is persistent,” Mr. Vance said.

The grand jury voted to indict officials of one company, but the indictment has not been unsealed, prosecutors said. For years, fraud has plagued state and city programs intended to give work to businesses owned by women and members of minority groups.

Most of the cases have ended in deferred prosecution agreements under which the company pays a large penalty and charges are eventually dismissed.

In July, for instance, the owner of DCM Erectors, Larry Davis, was charged with using fake work orders and false business records to make it seem as if the company was in compliance with the minority hiring requirements of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

In January 2013, Mr. Vance said Schlesinger-Siemens Electrical had submitted false documents to the state exaggerating the role of minority-owned subcontractors on a Department of Environmental Protection project.

In the 15-page report, the grand jury made several recommendations to discourage similar frauds. It said that fines and prison sentences should be increased and that the agencies charged with certifying minority- and female-owned businesses should be given more resources.

The report also urged government agencies to start requesting that prime contractors “certify under penalty of perjury” that minority-owned subcontractors are performing work at construction sites, not just “renting” their names to other companies.

In some cases, the report said, contractors hired a minority-owned subcontractor to act as a “pass-through,” receiving payments and then handing the money on to a nonminority company that did the work.

In others, a minority-owned company allowed its name to be used in documents as the source of supplies when the goods in reality came from another, nonminority-owned company. A third scheme involved contractors who created shell companies in the name of a female relative.

The programs are managed by the Empire State Development Corporation and the city Office of Contract Services. To be eligible for certification, more than half of a company must be owned by a woman or a member of a minority group. Both the city and the state currently ask prime contractors to direct about a third of the work to minority- and female-owned companies.

Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said those goals were too high given the pool of available companies. He said the government had to do a better job vetting businesses on official lists to ensure they had the capacity to carry out major projects.

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