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Neighbors Meet With Extell Development About Noise at Cherry Street Site

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extell site feb 2015
250 South St./227 Cherry St.

Last night, residents in the Two Bridges area were granted an opportunity to quiz executives of Extell Development and Lend Lease, its contractor, about the massive project now under construction at the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street.

Extell is putting up a 72-story luxury residential tower and a 15-story affordable building where the supermarket once stood. The meeting was orchestrated by the tenant association at Two Bridges Tower, the neighboring property, and Community Board 3. Although several people showed up to ask questions about the huge scale of the project and the tax breaks Extell is receiving, they were quickly shut down. Organizers said the meeting was intended only to address concerns about early morning noise, safety issues and other construction-related matters.

Residents said the pile driving operation at the site is creating an unbearable amount of noise and disruption. Sometimes their apartments are shaking so forcefully that people think they’re living through an earthquake. Several residents of Two Bridges Tower have reported cracks in their walls.  According to Lend Lease, the loudest work for the building foundation will last another 10 months or so. They expect to begin building the superstructure very late this year or early in 2016. On weekdays, workers are on the job 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Construction starts at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. Residents, some speaking in Chinese, pleaded for a later start time, but the executives said that would just prolong the project. They assured the locals, however, that safety precautions had been taken, including the installation of vibration monitors.

extell site 2

Trever Holland, tenant president at Two Bridges Tower, asked about renderings of the luxury tower. Months after construction began, on-site signage meant to inform the local community about the project is noticeably bare. City law compels developers to post a rendering along with building permits. The executives said they would eventually release drawings, but added that they were not yet ready for public consumption.


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  1. So the point of the meeting was just to agree to talk some more? Extell and Lend Lease seem to be missing the point as always:

    1) Piledriving start time: this is a basic human decency issue. 7 am in the morning on weekdays is far too early to subject local residents to a noise as disruptive as that of a piledriver. Many people in the building also work late, so that extra half hour to hour of sleep is critical. Asking people to put up with being rudely awakened each morning for a few weeks is one thing. But ten months? It’s like Extell’s trying to kill people by sleep deprivation.

    2) Piledriving on weekends: Lend Lease needs to get variance permits to work on weekends. Apparently they’re getting variance permits to work every weekend. But the permits are called VARIANCE permits for a reason. Construction companies aren’t supposed to work on the weekends. Lend Lease/Extell is just taking advantage of the fact that they have deep pockets and can afford to pay the filing fee to get around that whole restriction, again to the detriment of local residents.

    3) Extell’s so-called safety measures: assuming Extell/Lend Lease are not lying about their safety monitoring systems and assuming said systems are functioning as advertised, the fact of the matter is that those systems are inadequate. The buckling and warping of the sidewalk near the construction site has become worse. More cracks are appearing on the walls inside at least the 82 Rutgers building. And as for their vibration monitors not detecting anything, where are they putting those monitors? At ground floor level, where nobody is living? Or at higher altitudes, where more residents are reporting earthquake-scale vibrations? And if their piledriving is so safe, then why aren’t they focusing on building the smaller building first, and then start with piledriving for the larger luxury tower (which would at least insulate the neighboring residents from some of the piledriving)?

  2. Lend Lease’s excuse that starting piledriving work later or not working on weekends would prolong the project is disingenuous. First, they usually stop piledriving well before the 6pm deadline on weekdays. It wouldn’t be too difficult for them to just shift back piledriving by an hour or two. Second, the real reason they don’t want to prolong the project is likely that Extell doesn’t want to make the project more expensive or miss any milestones, which might be an issue if they didn’t adequately factor in delays such as bad weather. However, that should be a problem between them and the people with whom they have privity of contract (e.g., Lend Lease, potential buyers). Instead, in order to clean up their own mess, they push the burden onto local residents who have limited access to the resources to defend themselves from this incursion.

    Despite Extell and Lend Lease’s talk about assurances, their actions indicate a different intent. By demolishing the Pathmark, they exposed a whole un-waterproofed section of the 82 Rutgers wall (formerly protected by the Pathmark building) to the elements. Their piledriving work to date has visibly damaged the sidewalk and the neighboring building. They damaged the local water main on at least two occasions. The planned dais for their buildings would functionally serve as a dam if/when there is Hurricane Sandy-level storm and worsen flood damage to the already exposed 82 Rutgers building. Extell/Lend Lease’s actions are clear: maximizing profit is more important than being a responsible neighbor.

  3. Haha, so Extell didn’t want to talk about the tax breaks and scale of the project? I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that two companies tied to Extell each donated $50,000 to Gov. Cuomo’s re-election campaign the same day the state assembly passed a bill approving tax breaks for Extell, among others (which bill the governor signed two days later). Or the fact that a few weeks later Gary Barnett himself donated another $100,000 to a DNC account the governor was using to fund his campaign.

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