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Bronx, NY - 775,000-Square-Foot Court House Building is Sinking

Published on: May 30, 2010 09:10 AM
By:  NY Post
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The Bronx County Hall of Justice in New York opened in 2008The Bronx County Hall of Justice in New York opened in 2008

Bronx, NY - The Bronx may not be burning. But it’s shattering and sinking.

Two years after a gleaming, $421 million state court building opened on East 161st Street, glass walls have been boarded up with wooden planks, courtroom doors are broken, stairways are cordoned off with yellow police tape, and sewer flies are infesting the lower levels of the 11-story edifice.

“We’re waiting for the whole building to fall apart,” fumed a court stenographer.

The 775,000-square-foot Bronx Hall of Justice opened in 2008, trumpeted as an architectural marvel in the middle of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the sleek glass building was intended to help the South Bronx shed its “Fort Apache” reputation and symbolize a transparent judicial process.

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But it has been a hall of horrors for the lawyers and court officers who work there every day.

On a recent visit to the courthouse, the sixth-floor ceiling was leaking and four large panels of glass walls on the second floor were boarded up.

Stairs between the second and third floors, as well as the front revolving door, were taped off.

On the lower courtroom floors, officials complained of spotty cellphone service, broken air conditioning and a malfunctioning audio system.

“Sewage-related problems” were reported to authorities last week.

The rock garden and courtyard remain off limits because of security concerns.

And the 240-space, below-ground parking garage remains cordoned off after inspectors found the ceiling was sinking. The Dormitory Authority plans to give up ownership of the garage this summer.

“We are aware of issues with some doors, windows, a stairwell and audio in the building,” said Susan Barnett, a spokeswoman for the state Dormitory Authority, the project manager. “All these matters are under litigation, so we cannot comment on them.”

The building boondoggle has become a legal quagmire, with a tangle of lawsuits involving 37 parties—including contractors, subcontractors, testing companies, architects, construction managers, the city and the project manager.

The Hall of Justice was slated to open in 2005 but was completed two years late and $121 million over budget.



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 30, 2010 at 09:30 AM Anonymous Says:

What's news in this article that the cost was more than projected or that the quality of the job was poor that's not news its the govt at its best

2

 May 30, 2010 at 10:03 AM charlie hills Says:

govt at its best.....

3

 May 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Well what do you expect when qualified people and companies are pushed aside and the work is given minority and woman owned businesses that are absolutely not qualified to do the work.

4

 May 30, 2010 at 10:28 AM Anonymous Says:

Was the builder the lowest bidder or a minority contractor-or both? Your tax dollar at work!!

5

 May 30, 2010 at 11:04 AM Lawyer Says:

It's good that the building is full of lawyers who can sue each other & anybody & everybody around.
This will keep them busy till the building disappears in a sink hole.
Hopefully taking all the lawyers with it.

6

 May 30, 2010 at 11:13 AM Anonymous Says:

Were the workers member of unions or were they taken"off the corners?
Were the contractors related or friends of politicians?

7

 May 30, 2010 at 02:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Well what do you expect when qualified people and companies are pushed aside and the work is given minority and woman owned businesses that are absolutely not qualified to do the work.

Do you have evidence to back up your ridiculous sweeping statement? I know two sisters that own their own engineering firm. Yes 2 lady engineers whose expertise is sought after around the world. They get contracts as far as UAE, Japan, Spain, Thailand. (Don't listen to your rabbi when he was telling you that women are not as smart as men because they are too emotional to learn like men do---it's a myth.)
Someone did a poor job at soil analysis and a subcontractor did a shoddy job at installations. A massive construction project like this involves dozens of companies, and if 1 or 2 fail to do quality work and jeopardize the whole structure, it doesn't mean every single firm involved in this project is guilty of doing a bad job. How intelligent of you that all you can do is blame women and minorities.

8

 May 30, 2010 at 02:25 PM Anonymous Says:

#1 Of course its sinking too many tenants in court !! Pay your rent monthly and it will stay afloat
#2 that's the quality work cheap labor brings u should see the lousy job hpd did in my building earlier this year and their is no one to talk to

9

 May 30, 2010 at 05:54 PM Anonymous Says:

# 1 to #8 as a contractor i whuld like to inform you all $121 mil over bodget and 2 years late is a union job the problem is not cheap labor its the union an bribe that dose not leave any money for the work where is blumy our mayer

10

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