Contractor Sues Developer of “Leaning” 58-story, New York City Tower

161 Maiden Lane via  Hill West Architects

161 Maiden Lane via Hill West Architects

A 58-story condominium tower currently under construction has found itself embroiled in a legal battle after the former General Contractor filed a lawsuit against the developer, citing the fact that the building is now “leaning” 3 inches to the north.

The superstructure of the condo on 161 Maiden Lane in Manhattan is complete, but the GC has been replaced and the construction will move forward, despite the suit, according to the Commercial Observer. The former GC, Pizzarotti, claims that the buildings leaning issue stems from the developer’s choice to not drill foundation piles down to bedrock, instead opting for a “cheaper” option of compacting and dewatering the soil below.

According to the suit, Pizzaroti hopes to regain tens of millions of dollars’ worth of cost overruns.  The suit claims that because the building is leaning, the curtain wall could not be installed and the developer needed to redesign it to make it safe.  It also claims that it would cause other issues pertaining to elevator installation, waterproofing, and corrosion.

The developer, Fortis, told the Commercial Observer that the building does indeed have an “alignment issue,” but that their engineers have designed the building for “differential settlement” and the building is not a safety concern. They plan to redesign the curtain wall to account for the alignment issue with their new GC, Ray Builders.

The lawsuit draws obvious comparisons to another leaning tower on the other side of the country, San Francisco’s Millennium Tower, as neither towers’ foundations were supported by bedrock. Lawsuits in the Millennium Tower case came from the building’s residents after the building was already occupied, however, and the fix for that project could cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.   

Full story: Contractor Sues Fortis Over ‘Unsafe’ Leaning Condo Tower Near Seaport | Commercial Observer