, Mon, September 24, 2018
Image via Creative Commons
Recent news of Kushner Companies’ filing of false documents outlining the residential makeup of their buildings in order to get construction permits has prompted a closer look at the practice, which, according to Politico, has been rampant among New York City property owners for years with few consequences. Last month the Department of Buildings fined Kushner Companies $210,000 for repeatedly submitting inaccurate paperwork. Tenant advocacy group Housing Rights Initiative (HRI) will release a report Monday outlining how landlords filed more than 10,000 deceptive PW1s (Plan/Work Applications) in the span of two and a half years.
What’s going on here?
237 Henry Street via Google Earth
Kushner Companies, run by the family of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, allegedly falsified construction permits as a way to remove rent-regulated tenants from their New York City buildings, the New York Times reported. The city’s Department of Buildings on Monday fined the Kushner Cos. $210,000 for 42 violations of submitting false applications across 17 buildings. According to a tenant activist organization, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, also falsified documents at three of his properties in Manhattan at 237 Henry Street, 172 Rivington Street and 235 East 27th Street.
More this way
New York City’s construction craze just got easier to track, thanks to a new tool that maps every major, active project across the five boroughs. The city’s Department of Buildings released this week an interactive map and dashboard that provides real-time information on every active construction site in the city. According to the data, there are currently 7,437 active permits filed and nearly 198,000,00 total square feet of construction, as of Wednesday.
See just how construction crazy NYC is
The DOB’s interactive maps show where all the elevators are, above in 3D
Again taking a look at New York City one tiny, moving part at a time: New York City has the world’s oldest population of elevators, and more elevator devices–over 84,000–than any other city in North America. The NYC Department of Buildings Elevator Report 2017 brings us an overview of the city’s elevator stock, including interactive maps that show which neighborhoods have the most elevators, elevator history, and, trust us, much more. That big number includes dumbwaiters, escalators, freight elevators, passenger elevators, private elevators, permanent amusement rides, personnel hoists (used for construction), sidewalk elevators and wheelchair lifts.
This way for more maps and facts
As of this week, New York City is home to 7,342 sidewalk sheds, totaling nearly 270 miles of sprawling eye-sores. Although this may sound like a lot, the number of sidewalk sheds has actually decreased from last year, when the Department of Buildings found over 7,700 sidewalk sheds throughout the city. The DOB on Wednesday released a new map highlighting the exact location of permitted sidewalk sheds. The map, which will update automatically in real-time, has a new feature that allows users to search sidewalk sheds by age, borough, community board and permit applicant.
Explore the map
Rendering of L&L Holding Company’s planned rooftop terrace at 390 Madison Avenue
Update 7/31/17: The Post reports that the DOB recently sent landlords a draft memo clarifying that, aside from minor details, terraces are allowed “as open passive recreation space.”
To give workers a comfortable and conducive work space, some companies have outfitted their offices with amenities like on-site fitness centers, free coffee and outdoor space. However, the city’s Department of Buildings has launched a campaign to stop or delay these rooftop terraces on office towers, claiming the spaces can only be used for plants, not people. As the New York Post reported, DOB may not approve office terrace plans and may even rescind already approved plans.
Find out more
It’s not going to be a good day for up to 50 city building inspectors and contractors, as well as two mob associates, who are expected to be charged today in “one of the biggest corruption crackdowns in years.” After a year-long investigation into projects that have been fast-tracked and received certificates of occupancies in return for cash, the Department of Investigation (DOI) and the Manhattan district attorney plan to charge 12 crooked city inspectors and nearly 40 contractors, according to the Daily News. Early this morning, the charged parties surrendered to authorities
More details on the charges
In early 2014, the Department of Buildings (DOB) set up a permanent audit unit and started reviewing the architectural plans for thousands of new and renovated buildings. What they’ve found is alarming; nine out of every ten office and/or residential buildings failed to meet the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC).
The energy standards were implemented over 30 years ago, but are just now being enforced. And while environmentalists welcome the stricter monitoring, some building owners and construction companies are nervous about the potential increased costs of compliance, both in terms of money and time.
More on the city’s energy codes and how they’re being updated