Garage Partially Vacated by Buildings Inspectors, Citing Structural Concerns
In the wake of the collapse of a Lower Manhattan parking garage in the Financial District on the evening of April 18, the City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has identified structural problems at a similar facility, located in the back of the 225 Rector Place condominium building, in Battery Park City.
DOB deputy press secretary David Maggiotto says, “during our field visit, DOB engineers found that the concrete slab reinforcements in areas of the parking garage were extensively corroded, with spalled concrete on the underside of two floor slab ceilings.” This was a reference to deteriorated concrete on which the surface peels, breaks or chips away, leaving divots that can expose the reinforcing metal bar encased within the cement.
“As a result,” Mr. Maggiotto continues, “we issued a Partial Vacate Order for 60 percent of the parking garage area of the building. We have also ordered the property owner to provide pedestrian protection pathway inside the garage, to allow for car owners to reach their vehicles safely in the non-vacated areas of the parking structure.”
“Our engineers did not find any conditions at the building which would necessitate a larger vacate order for the residential portion of the building,” he adds. “We have ordered the building owners to immediately retain the services of their own Professional Engineer, in order to compile a full structural report on the parking garage.”
Prior to the issuance of this order to vacate most of the garage at 225 Rector last Wednesday, DOB coordinated with the parking operator to notify car owners that they should remove their vehicles. To lift the vacate order, the owner of the commercial condominium unit that the garage comprises must make repairs to the parking structure, and then request a new DOB inspection. The parking structure at 225 Rector (which is entered via 250 Albany Street) contains 113 parking spaces, as well as a gym and a swimming pool.
A memo distributed to residents of 225 Rector by building management notes, “the garage unit owner… had already hired an engineer and contractor to start on necessary repairs within their space prior to the DOB’s partial vacate order.
“The contractor hired on behalf of the garage mobilized earlier this month and started its repairs on Friday, April 21st,” the notice connotes. “Upon DOB’s inspection on Wednesday, out of an abundance of caution, the DOB issued a partial vacate order on the north and south side of the garage. During repairs, the DOB felt it was best to keep this area clear of cars and pedestrians.”
“The DOB also inspected the residential section above the garage,” the memo adds. “While no immediate concern was found of the garage collapsing or any structural issues, repairs will likely need to be made to the third-floor ceiling of the garage.”
Mr. Maggiotto, the DOB spokesman, says, “following the building collapse in Lower Manhattan last week, DOB immediately began reviewing records of structures with parking facilities, in order to conduct targeted enforcement sweeps of similar structures with potential safety concerns or with outstanding DOB-issued violations around the City. This work was done in the interest of public safety, and out of an abundance of caution. During our sweep of 78 parking structures, we found four locations where structural concerns necessitated areas of the buildings to be immediately vacated.” One of these was 225 Rector. (Another is also located in Lower Manhattan, at 50 Bayard Street, in Chinatown.)
“These actions were taken by the Department to protect the public, until such time as the building owners can make the necessary repairs,” he notes.