During the Pandemic Construction Shut-Down, Some Spots are Active

By Brian J Pape, AIA

When the city DOB shut down construction in March, only a few “Essential Construction” projects were exempt. In the Village area, while street work has continued, there didn’t seem to be any “essential” building sites, so it was very quiet for several weeks.

While most commercial buildings, such as the Google offices at St. John’s Terminal, luxury condos, especially the 42-story apartment tower at the St. John’s Terminal site, and private mansions ( the Parker/Broderick, the Cohen, and the Stryker sites) are dormant, we found some exceptions that seem to be opening up a little.

Village Community School on West 10th Street is adding a large multi floor classroom and gymnasium addition at the corner of Greenwich Street, replacing a surface playground. Construction was stopped after some of the foundation walls were formed, so now that construction has restarted, the rest of the foundations will be finished. A notice is posted declaring this as an essential site.

60 Gansevoort is a controversial new office building at Washington Street that was fought by a community group’s high-powered lawyer, to no avail. It was shut down with others after it had topped off. Now, the developer is only allowed to continue working on the sidewalks and street paving until the orders are lifted.

Down at the end of Gansevoort Street, Diller’s Little Island at Pier 55 is proceeding full speed ahead. Trees are planted and more concrete work is poured without skipping a beat. We wonder how this is exempt from the shutdown, while Pier 40 piling repair is on hold?

Road work continues around the city, like here at Ninth Avenue and 14th Street. The lack of traffic congestion is reportedly helping get the work done faster.

101 West 14th Street is a 13-story luxury apartment building at the NW corner of Sixth Avenue that has already topped off and has started some of its façade when it was shutdown. On 4/8/20 the city authorized the developer to proceed with limited construction work, perhaps due to its congested traffic location, and the construction barricades around the halted foundation work on the adjacent NE corner site?

Since it is so quiet due to the shutdown, even small projects are more noticeable, such as this exterior masonry restoration work at the apartments at 12 Fifth Avenue near Eighth Street. Surprisingly, no permits or notices were posted anywhere outside this scaffolded site. Plans for 14 & 16 Fifth Avenue have been announced, to be replaced with 36 luxury units in a 367’ tall and 27-floor tower.

Disney is building a NY Headquarters at Hudson Square district, bounded by Varick, Spring, Hudson and Vandam Streets. During previous months, a half dozen large loft buildings were demolished to clear the site, then the shutdown. Now, the sitework has restarted, with an “Essential Construction” notice allowing the removal of building debris and providing soil remediation, including at least 6 drilling rigs at work.

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