Friday, September 26, 2014

Dozen New Luxury Projects to Get Underway in Brooklyn

In New York City where neighborhoods transform in the blink of an eye, cranes and condominium towers have come to signify areas that developers refer to as 'hot' -- and construction in Brooklyn is scorching. There are presently more than a dozen new luxury rental or condominium projects about to get underway in Brooklyn, many of which will be built in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens section of the borough.

626 Flatbush Avenue
626 Flatbush Avenue is a luxury residential tower being developed by the Hudson Companies, one block from Prospect Park in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. The new building will rise 23 stories between Ocean and Flatbush Avenues and bring 254 units to the neighborhood, with 20 percent set aside as affordable housing.

Area residents failed to stop the developer from building the 23-story residential tower, and since a judge lifted a restraining order, excavation at the site has been full steam ahead.

The tower will sit back from the street about 100 feet, on what used to be a parking lot. The project also includes a shorter retail building on Flatbush Avenue which will lead into the residential tower.

Just 2 blocks away from 626 Flatbush Avenue, a 9-story apartment building will soon begin to rise on an L-shaped site at 33 Lincoln Road.  The building is being developed by Anderson Associates with Century Building Development as the general contractor.

The Lincoln Park Apartments will be constructed adjacent to the B/Q subway tracks, and bring an additional 133 units of new housing to Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. 20 percent of the apartments will be aside as affordable housing, and the remaining 80 will rent at market rates.

Amenities will include parking, a roof deck, a cafe, and 20,000-square-feet of retail space. The building will have entrances on both Lincoln Road and Flatbush Avenue, and is expected to be completed by next year.

Lincoln Park Apartments

Hello New York
Hello Lenox

A foundation is currently being laid for a new condominium building slated for 651 New York Avenue.

Hello Living, which has developed sites in Prospect Heights on the other side of the park, plans to build 40 condominiums at 651 New York Avenue and a 56-unit luxury rental building at 271 Lenox Road.

Each of the luxury buildings will feature private elevators opening directly into each unit and large private terraces as well as underground parking..

A La Quinta Inn will soon be coming to 1229 Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand, just a few blocks away from the new Barclays Center in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn.

The general contractor, Superior Glen Construction recently began excavation and foundation work at the large vacant lot on the Crown Heights border.

The new 42,000 square-foot hotel will rise seven stories and have 104 guest rooms. The hotel will also feature off-street parking spaces, a recreation room, lounge, meeting and conference rooms.

The La Quinta will join a few other new hotels nearby on Atlantic Ave, including a Best Western on the other side of Nostrand, the Hotel Luxe and the Atlantic Motor Inn.

1229 Atlantic Avenue

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$179M High Rise, Entertainment Complex for Jersey City Powerhouse

A developer is moving forward with plans to build a $179 million retail and commercial complex inside the long-dormant Powerhouse in Downtown Jersey City, a project the city says will be a game changer for the neighborhood.

The plans include a 40-story residential tower housing 370 units and 200 parking spaces.

Baltimore-based Cordish Companies, the developer behind the project, calls the tower an "expansion" of the 108-year-old Powerhouse, located on Washington Street.

Cordish Companies recently transformed an old power plant in Baltimore's touristy Inner Harbor into an entertainment complex.

The plan is to mimic what they did in Baltimore and create a “a world-class destination" at the Jersey City site. The Powerhouse was originally built in 1906 to provide power to the Hudson Tubes.

Mayor Steve Fulop said the tower is a vital component to making the long-stalled Powerhouse redevelopment financially feasible. Because of its historic nature, renovating the 180,000-square-foot behemoth will cost a tidy sum.

With the added cost of trying to preserve the 180,000-square-foot structure, he said, the developer will seek state incentives to build the 40-story residential tower alongside the historic building.

“Keeping the building the way it is, where it’s falling down and in disrepair — that’s not an option.”

The firm anticipates a nearly four-year process for stabilization, remediation and construction.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jobsite Accidents Kill Two Construction Workers

Worker Fatally Electrocuted Working on Scissor Lift  


An electrician died while doing work at an upstate yogurt plant. The worker was on a scissor lift doing electrical work early during the morning of September 11 when he came into contact with a live wire.

Police, fire and emergency personnel were called to the Fage USA facility in upstate Johnstown, which is located between Albany and Syracuse, to respond to the “industrial accident.”

According to OSHA’s most recent statistics, 66 workers in the U.S. died from electrocution in 2012, representing 8.1 percent of all fatal construction accidents.

The worker, Roopnarine Surajpel, 28, of Schenectady was pronounced dead at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville. The electrician worked for Schenectady Electric, a subcontractor performing work at the facility.

The project, which started in November 2012, will include a parking lot, silos and a whey pretreatment plant. Work on a roughly 39,000-square-foot addition to the Proliant Dairy, which would run a pipe from the Fage USA facility, is set to begin in May.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.

OSHA lists electrocution among its “Focus Four,” or the four leading construction site hazards. The other hazards on the list are falls, struck by object and caught-in or caught-between accidents.

In an effort to raise awareness among supervisors and workers about these hazards and reduce accident-related injuries and deaths, OSHA has issued a variety of educational and prevention materials that can be found on its website.

Construction Worker Crushed in Midtown Manhattan

A concrete slab weighing thousands of pounds crashed to the ground on Tuesday, trapping and killing a worker at a Midtown Manhattan jobsite. The 27-year-old construction worker was pronounced dead at the scene. Construction at the site has been suspended indefinitely.

The incident happened at 326 West 37th Street, where workers are excavating an old parking lot to build a 22-story hotel.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but the man was working to secure the foundation of a building next to the site when a piece of concrete from that building came loose around 1:30 p.m., officials said.

The man was working below grade at 326 West 37th Street with another worker, when a 4-foot by 8-foot slab came undone from an adjacent building and crushed him.

The second man leapt to safety, but the victim was pinned beneath the slab, with only his arm visible as emergency workers rushed to the scene.

Rick Chandler, the commissioner of the New York City Buildings Department, said the digging to excavate the site “compromised the foundation of the neighboring building,”

More than 100 workers were evacuated from the construction site — at 326 West 37th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues — because of stability concerns.
The construction project is converting a parking lot into a 22-story McSam budget hotel, with over 240 guest rooms.

Construction at the site has been suspended indefinitely.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

NYC's Top Electrical Contractors - 2014

If the traffic around construction sites across the city weren't sign enough, a recent report confirms that New York's construction market is booming.

A surge in construction spending by private developers, especially for large residential projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is expected to drive total spending up 10% to $31.5 billion this year, the first time construction spending has topped $30 billion since 2010, according to the New York City Building Congress.

Construction activity is anticipated to continue its growth through next year, to around $33 billion. That is just 3% below spending levels in 2007, when adjusted for inflation.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

22-Story Residential Building Set to rise in Hudson Square

Extell Development is moving ahead with excavation for a 22-story residential building with 116 apartments that it plans to construct at 68-74 Charlton Place, near the Holland Tunnel. The Hudson Square building will have 91 market-rate co-op apartments and 25 affordable units. The new building will stand through the block with entrances on both Charlton Place and Vandam Street.

The board eventually voted to recommend approval for the project, with the request that the building's amenities be accessible to all.

The developer agreed that the fitness room, swimming pool, and steam room (which will be located in the basement, and all residents would have to pay for), would be offered to rent-subsidized tenants at an 85 percent discount.

The building, located between Hudson and Varick streets, will also feature a children's play room and a greenhouse on the ground floor.

Because the new building will be more than 20 percent affordable, it will qualify it for a 421a tax abatement. An inclusionary housing bonus that was a part of the Hudson Square rezoning will also allow Extell to construct a taller building than they previously would have been able to.

The 22-story building will have more than 20-percent affordable housing and will be completed by the end of 2016.

The developer’s previous plans were to build two separate towers - separating affordable and market-rate apartments, but the proposal did not pass muster with Community Board 2.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Contractor Responsibilities for Workplace Safety and Health

The Association of Electrical Contractors recently hosted two dynamic speakers at their membership meeting on Wednesday, September 17th, at Terrace on the Park in Flushing. The ElectricWeb was invited to attend the presentation given by Michael Johnston, a nationally renowned expert on safety in the electrical construction industry and NECA's Executive Director of Standards Safety. Among his duties are managing the codes, standards and safety functions for NECA.

Mr. Johnston discussed NECA's NFPA 70E Employer Responsibilities Guide and how it benefits electrical contractors.

The newly released guide forms a basis for a contractor's compliance with NFPA 70E. It details planning and documentation requirements to effectively communicate risks to customers as well as to employees.

Mr. Johnston also provided a live demonstration of NECA's new Safety Meeting App.

With the electrical construction industry experiencing rapid changes in technology and operational methods, it is critical that electrical contractors stay up-to-speed with industry advances that affect workplace safety and health.

In addition to the presentation by Mr. Johnston, NECA's Executive Director for Government Affairs, Marco Giamberardino spoke with the membership about the benefits that NECA's government affairs program provides to New York City electrical contractors.

About the AEC

The Association of Electrical Contractors promotes pro-business legislation and offers an opportunity for Electrical Contractors to have a direct say in the industry, and its future.

AEC represents all its members with regards to labor negotiations, relations and problem solving. Membership entitles you to a comprehensive benefit package included in your dues, and offers various insurance programs.

AEC is the liaison between your company and various City, State and Federal Agencies including Building Trade Employees Association, Bureau of Electrical Control, School Construction Authority, Department of Design and Construction, Dormitory Authority and ConEd.

Networking is made easy at monthly AEC membership meetings. AEC also provides access to several publications geared towards electrical contractors, including the ElectricWeb|Newsletter. Add your voice...
< Click for more information about the AEC and membership.

Association of Electrical Contractors, Inc.
36-36 33rd Street, Suite 402
Long Island City, NY 11106
Tel (718) 752-0800, Fax (718) 752-0805

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

825-Foot Residential Tower Planned Near Madison Square Park

A developer plans to build a 53-story residential building with 188 units at 15 East 30th Street in Midtown. The 370,000-square-foot structure will rise on a T-shaped plot with entrances located on both East 30th and East 31st streets. The huge new tower will also include 4,100 square feet of ground floor retail space.
Developer J.D. Carlisle has filed plans with the city to build a 53-story, 825-foot-tall residential building just north of Madison Square Park at 30th Street between Madison and Fifth avenues.

The existing five-story buildings on the site will be razed to make way for the new tower.

The new structure, designed by Handel Architects, would soar past the 620-foot tall One Madison and the soon-to-be-constructed 777-foot tower planned for 45 East 22nd Street, making it the tallest building between Chambers Street and the Empire State Building.

The tower, designed by Handel Architects, will have 188 apartments over 370,000 total square feet.

While the developer has not indicated whether the building will hold condominiums or rentals, the 14-foot ceilings point towards luxury units. Apartments in the tower are expected to average around 1,650 square feet.

The neighborhood, around Madison Square Park, has several other new residential and hotel developments in the works as well.

Developer Yitzchak Tessler is building a condo building on Madison Avenue and 33rd Street that is expected to rise at least 40 stories and have 70 units, including six penthouses.

And on Broadway between 29th and 30th streets, a 489-room Virgin Hotel is set to rise. Richard Branson's renderings show a 40-story building with retail at street level.

Another J.D. Carlisle tower under construction recently topped out just two blocks north along Madison Avenue, between 32nd and 33rd streets.

The 42-story building at 160 Madison Avenue is on track for completion in 2015.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Meadowlands Proposal for Casinos, Hotels & Convention Center

With four casinos in Atlantic City already shuttered this year and another expected to close shortly, a regional business group has rolled out a grand vision for a Meadowlands of the future. The “Vision Plan” outlined for the Meadowlands Sports Complex features a convention center, two hotels and four casinos within the complex. The total cost is estimated at nearly $1.2 billion.

That plan includes 2,000 new hotel rooms, a 1-million-square-foot convention center, up to 20,000 additional parking spaces and a 1½-mile monorail to move visitors around the complex.

Spurred by recent signals from Trenton that the state might be ready to end Atlantic City’s gaming monopoly, the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce presented a proposal to build several sparkling gambling palaces, including a resort-style hotel and casino and a combination race track and casino, at the Sports Complex.

The ambitious plan to open New Jersey’s casino gambling licenses to areas beyond Atlantic City have generated "significant private interest" in a Meadowlands establishment.

Banking on that possibility, the Meadowlands chamber updated its 2011 "vision plan" for the sports complex, now home to MetLife Stadium, the Izod Center, Meadowlands Racetrack and the long-stalled American Dream Meadowlands project.

The chamber’s plan envisions these elements:

  • A pair of hotels with a total of 2,000 rooms, one near American Dream Meadowlands and the other near the racetrack;
  • A convention center of 700,000 to 1 million square feet;
  • Four unspecified casino-gambling sites, which officials said could perhaps be at each hotel, the track, and at the convention center;
  • Four new parking decks that combined would nearly double the 27,000 parking spaces currently available;
  • A 1.5-mile people mover such as a monorail that would transport visitors between the various elements at the site: the existing NJ Transit rail station, the Izod Center, American Dream, and the new track grandstand and the elements envisioned in the plan.

The plan calls for a mix of private and public funding, but does not lay out how much tax money would be needed to build the various components. Presumably, the hotel and casinos would be developed with private money, while the people mover and the convention center would be publicly funded, at an estimated cost of $65 million for the people mover and $175 million for the convention center.

The Giants and Jets spent $1.6 billion to build MetLife Stadium, and private firms have paid for the more than $2 billion worth of construction at American Dream, formerly known as Xanadu.

Another proposal being promoted is a $4.6 billion casino project next to Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, with its sweeping views of Manhattan.

The proposal from Paul Fireman, a former chief executive of Reebok, calls for a casino and hotel rising 95 floors above New York Harbor, almost eyeball to eyeball with the new 104-story World Trade Center just across the harbor.

The $4.6 billion project would also feature residences, a 107,500-seat motor sports stadium and what is billed as the largest Ferris wheel in the world.

The proposed development would create 25,000 jobs and over $5 billion of investment, which would be one of the largest construction projects in the United States.

But there’s one catch — The New Jersey Constitution limits casino gambling to Atlantic City.

But the recent closings of Showboat, Revel, Trump Plaza and the Atlantic Club — leaving just seven gaming halls in the seashore resort — have intensified the drumbeat for a 2015 referendum on expanding gambling to other parts of the state.

The Trump Taj Mahal issued layoff notices on September 13 to its 3,101 employees ahead of a possible closing date of November 13, bringing the total number of closed casinos to five as of November.

State Senator Ray Lesniak, who has introduced a constitutional amendment to expand New Jersey gaming, said his bill would allow for two casino licenses in the state. Lesniak said that if voters approve an expansion, additional legislation would be needed to determine where those licenses go.

“A casino will allow the Meadowlands to draw on an already existing customer base that wants to gamble and be entertained, but is currently driving past us to get to casinos in nearby states,” he said.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Downtown's Tallest Residential Tower to Rise on Greenwich

A 1,356-foot-tall tower of condos will soon begin to rise in the Financial District. The structure at 125 Greenwich Street will be downtown's tallest residential building, surpassing both 56 Leonard and 30 Park Place. The site, formerly known as 22 Thames Street, has no height restrictions—an attractive feature for developers who want to build huge luxury condominium towers.

Developers SHVO New York and Bizzi & Partners recently purchased the property and plan to construct a 77-story building that will stop just 12 feet short of One World Trade Center's roof, and 23 feet short of the soaring 432 Park Avenue.

125 Greenwich Street will be the second tallest building in Lower Manhattan.

The designer of the original tower planned for 22 Thames Street, Rafael Vinoly, has been retained as the project’s architect.

The developers have already secured $240 million in construction financing for the 453,630 square foot building.

The ceilings heights will be 13 feet up to the 38th floor, 16 feet high on floors 40 through 65, and an enormous 24 feet high on floors 67 through 77.

The 128 ultra-luxury residences will be separated by mechanical rooms on the 39, 55, and 66 floors.

On the lower levels of the tower, 24 maid’s rooms will be located on floors 8 through 10, just above the building’s lavish amenities and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

Floors 66 through 76 will house 10 enormous penthouses measuring 5,300 square feet each, with sweeping views of New York harbor, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The building will be topped by a 10,600 square foot duplex apartment which is rumored to list at nearly $100 million, making it one of Lower Manhattan’s most expensive residences.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Electrical Contractor Overbills Public Schools, Faces 20 Yrs

An electrical contractor shamelessly overbilled the city’s public schools for years — including charging up to $300 for kitchen receptacles that cost $2 — in a $1 million-plus scam, according to federal investigators. The greedy Brooklyn-based contractor was supposed to be fixing problems in kitchens used to feed elementary school kids.

Instead, Acme American Repairs Inc. and an affiliated refrigeration company outrageously overbilled the Department of Education — even for phantom work that was never done, officials said.

In addition to the seemingly gold-plated electrical outlets, owner Eduardo Lazzari charged the Department of Education $572 for circuit breakers that normally cost $18, federal officials said.

“No effort was made to determine what actual part was installed at the particular DOE school, nor was any effort made to determine the cost to Acme of purchasing the installed part,” said Jason Samuels, a criminal investigator for the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, in the complaint.

Lazzari’s companies also raked in $157.50 for each of at least 8,000 carbon dioxide “leak tests” that were supposedly performed on school refrigerators between 2006 and 2012. But not only were the tests never performed — they should never have been authorized in the first place, authorities said.

“Carbon dioxide is not used in connection with conducting a leak test of refrigeration units,” Samuels said.

In fact, the carbon dioxide test Acme billed to the Department of Education in connection with leak tests of refrigeration equipment is actually used for air testing in cooking and heating equipment, and has no application for refrigeration equipment.

Adding insult to injury, the company only charged private and parochial schools between $15 and $65 for the same tests during this period.

Lazzari of Bayside, Queens, was arrested and released on $500,000 bail after appearing in Manhattan Federal Court.

He was charged with defrauding the Department of Education between 2006 and February 2013 through two DOE contracts that paid Acme more than $23 million —more than double the anticipated costs of the original contracts.

Acme has also made tens of millions of dollars through other city contracts with DOE, the Department of Correction, Administration for Children Services and other city agencies.

The DOE’s special commissioner of investigation began investigating Lazzari in 2012.

If convicted, Lazzari faces up to 20 years behind bars and up to $250,000 in fines.

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