Developer built unsafe leaning condo tower to cut costs: suit

Source:, April 3, 2019
By: Priscilla DeGregory and Tamar Lapin

Forget Pisa — New York has the leaning tower of South Street.
A brand-new, 58-story condo in the Financial District is listing north like a drunken investment banker due to a faulty foundation — a defect that could cause bits of the tower to fall to the street, a Manhattan civil suit claims.
The 3-inch tilt to the north on 161 Maiden Lane was caused by cost-cutting measures on the part of the developer, Fortis Property Group, claims the lawsuit, filed by project contractor Pizzarotti.
Fortis allegedly opted not to drive piles into the soft ground of the site by South Street Seaport on the East River before it laid the foundation, saving them $6 million, the suit alleges. “The building structure has settled and moved to such a degree that the structure is encroaching on a neighboring property line,” according to the papers filed last month in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The lean on the 670-foot-tower could cause windows to plummet, the suit claims.
A structural-engineering expert told The Post the lean could also cause doors to open randomly, leaks or uneven floors. All of this will only get worse as the weight of the building — which is currently unoccupied and under construction — increases when water, tanks and fixtures are added, the documents claim.
Pizzarotti wants to break their contract with the developer, arguing it’s unsafe for workers or future residents to step inside. But Fortis argues this is just a last-ditch attempt by Pizzarotti to pass off
blame for their own shoddy work.
“This lawsuit is patently false from start to finish and nothing more than simple defamation,” a spokesperson for Fortis said. The rep said engineers have deemed the site safe — despite the “misalignment issue” — and that Pizzarotti even had 70 of their workers at the site as recently as last week. Fortis says they plan to countersue Pizzarotti.
The Buildings Department said no one involved in the suit had contacted them about the structure and they would be “reviewing the concerns” brought up in the media.
Area residents, meanwhile, weren’t happy about the news.
“The building is already ugly, and now I need to walk my dog in the other direction so I’m not killed by falling debris,” said Tom Butler, 41.

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