More details on disputed Two Bridges project News

| 23 Mar 2015 | 04:19

Newly released details about a proposed luxury development on the east side of lower Manhattan are emboldening neighbors, who have raised concerns about noise and other disruptions from the massive construction project.

Extell Development, which is building at 250 South Street, released renderings of the two 71-story luxury towers in the shadow of the working-class Two Bridges neighborhood on the East River.

Two Bridges tenant association president Trever Holland said the renderings weren’t present on the construction fence for a while. “We had to force them to get that rendering, we had to file a report with the Department of Buildings (D.O.B.) because by law all construction projects are required to have renderings on their fence,” he said.

The drawings show that the Extell tower is 800 feet tall — almost two and half times taller than the Manhattan Bridge it will overlook. Holland said that unlike other developers, who present slides of their plans along with pictures to show their goals for their projects, Extell has not been too forthcoming about the plans for 250 South Street.“Extell has been very coy with everything they do,” said Holland.

That coyness, he said, has made it difficult for residents in the neighborhood to keep up with what to expect from the new addition to the area. Two Bridge residents, along with Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Scheer, met with an Extell development panel in late February to address construction updates and concerns. At that meeting, many people voiced their dissatisfaction with weekend construction, the developing cracks in their walls and tremors in their homes due to construction, and lack of communication with the community as a whole.

Anthony Abbruzzese, Extell’s overseer of construction operations, said that the contruction work runs Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the needed Saturday construction, which starts at 9 a.m. “If we don’t work Saturdays, you’ll be experiencing noisy activities for a long period of time,” he said.

But the scale of the project, and the fact that it is nestled within a dense existing residential area, have brought a raft of complaints. Resident Elaine Hoffman said she has felt tremors from the work done next door to her building, describing it as an earthquake. “The building is shaking like there’s no tomorrow,” she said.

Laura Bush from LendLease construction, which runs the Extell project, explained how the tremors were due to the demobilizing of work mats that were frozen together.

Since the February community meeting, Holland said he hasn’t felt anything as extreme as the “earthquake tremors.”

“We have five years of this [construction] so I imagine that we’re going to feel it again but we haven’t felt anything like we felt before the meeting in a while,” he said.

Developing cracks in the Two Bridge Tower also has left residents questioning whether Extell will pay for the damages. Holland is currently cataloging the apartments affected by the construction until Extell decides how it will address the issue.

Prior to construction, Extell tookpictures of the Two Bridges apartments, but now must compare those pictures to others taken as the project has progressed. “The cracks are significant but not structural, so it’s not like you immediately have to fix it,” Holland said.

Overall, Holland says Extell has been cooperative with most things but in terms of the reported cracks in the walls, residents will have to wait and see.