A construction worker fell and died this afternoon at the Trump SoHo building, the controversial condo-hotel project at 246 Spring Street. We don’t yet have many details on what appears to be some sort of collapse, but the police said that one worker fell and was pronounced dead on the scene.
The project, the largest tower between downtown and midtown that claims Donald Trump as a partner, has been something of a magnet for criticism, as preservationists accuse the real estate magnate of violating the city’s zoning code.
The Sapir Organization and Mr. Trump are developing the condo-hotel.
UPDATE 2:49 p.m.
The Observer sat down with both Donald Trump and Alex Sapir last year. The two are partners in the Trump SoHo, the new condo-hotel at 246 Spring Street where a construction worker this afternoon died in an apparent accident.
Here’s Mr. Sapir on the Trump SoHo:
Now, Trump SoHo. Some people say it’s a condo in the guise of a condo-hotel. In other words, the people who will buy there will live there year-round—
Why do people assume that, though?
I think that people like to make their comments, for whatever reason. I think some people don’t like the idea of a 45-story building anywhere in the world. I think it’s great for SoHo; I think it’s great for the neighborhood. It’s a hotel. … I mean, you’ve stayed in a hotel and you’ve lived in an apartment. Do you live in an apartment?
So, you’ve lived in an apartment and you’ve stayed in a hotel room. Would you live in a hotel room? Not by choice, right? So, we’re building hotel rooms, and I don’t know why people think people would want to live there year-round.
Here’s Mr. Trump on the Trump SoHo:
Trump SoHo is a family project, but you guys aren’t technically the developers, right?
Mr. Trump: Well, we are partners in the development with Tom Sapir and Alex Sapir. … We have a building that will probably be the last of its kind built in its area. I think that zoning is probably going to be changed down there so that people won’t be able to go up high.
Does it bother you when community activists say, ‘Listen, this is just simply too high’?
I’ve seen very little opposition to this building, I have to tell you. I mean there’s a small little fringe group that has fought it, and I read yesterday in Newsday, a letter was sent. Why wouldn’t they have fought it before they’re on the seventh floor? They started fighting, we were already up to the seventh floor. And the reason they did that, they just want to get publicity for themselves.
You think that there will be zoning changes, so this will be the one tall building in the neighborhood. Will that be awkward?
No, that’ll be a huge asset. That’s not a liability. That’s called …
Donald “Don” Trump Jr.: Perfect.
UPDATE 3:03 p.m.
We have a statement from Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and one of the leading opponents of Trump SoHo:
First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy and their families and loved ones. But this is a tragedy that never should have happened. This building was illegal and never should have been approved by the City. But the City bent over backwards to push it through, and then the developers worked at lightning speed to get the building up while the legal challenge has been making its way through the system. This building was already a monument to greed and hubris; now, sadly, it will be a monument to tragedy as well.
UPDATE 3:20 p.m.
The Fire Department is saying that three have been injured in the accident this afternoon at the Trump SoHo at 246 Spring Street, which the police now say was a collpase that occured while pouring concrete. The construction worker that fell and died was male, the police said.
UPDATE 3:45 p.m.
We talked to an electrician who was in the Trump SoHo as the accident happened:
"Half the building fell down, that’s all I’m going to say."
Were you inside?
"Yes. And I don’t want to experience it no more."
UPDATE 4:15 p.m.
The Trump Organization directed our calls on the accident to Bovis Lend Lease, which is managing construction at the development. We have a call out to Bovis.
The New York Times notes that:
… Bovis Lend Lease, is the same company that oversaw demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan, where two firefighters were killed in August in a blaze that swept through the contaminated structure.
UPDATE 4:33 p.m.
Here’s a statement from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, an opponent of Trump SoHo:
The accident at the new hotel at 246 Spring Street is another example of the dangerous conditions created by rushed construction in Manhattan. My office did an initial investigation of violations at the site and discovered that there were two Class A violations issued on October 26, 2007. These violations are considered high risk. However, the construction was allowed to continue unchecked and the Environmental Control Board hearing to review the violations was not scheduled until January 24, 2008.
This is unacceptable. The death and injury of construction workers and the compromised safety of emergency responders and surrounding community should not be considered the cost of doing business in Manhattan. Any type of high risk violation should necessitate a halt of unsafe work until the violation is cured. I will continue to investigate this matter and look to see rapid response from all relevant city agencies. I applaud the fire, police and other emergency responders for their bravery and for putting themselves at risk to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.
UPDATE 7:31 p.m.
Here’s the media report from the Department of Buildings about the accident, which killed one and injured two workers from DiFama Concrete, a subcontractor for Bovis Lend Lease:
Earlier today, Buildings inspectors and forensic engineers responded to emergency calls regarding a construction accident at 246 Spring Street in Manhattan.
Buildings forensic engineers are conducting interviews and assessing the construction site to determine the exact cause of the partial collapse.
The Buildings Department is vacating the top two floors of two neighboring buildings, 145 and 155 6th Avenue, as a safety precaution. The vacate orders will remain in effect until the general contractor at 246 Spring Street, Bovis Lend Lease, makes the construction site safe.
The Buildings Department has issued a Stop Work Order for all construction operations at 246 Spring Street. The Stop Work Order does not apply to remedial work required to make the site safe, such as securing loose materials on the upper floors of the building. The Stop Work Order for all construction operations will remain in effect until the general contractor demonstrates to the Buildings Department that work can continue in a safe and compliant manner.
In response to today’s incident, the Buildings Department is issuing at least four violations to Bovis Lend Lease for the following conditions:
- Failure to safeguard the public and property.
- Failure to maintain adequate housekeeping.
- Failure to provide a fire escape hatch.
- Failure to provide adequate fire extinguishers.
Additional violations may be issued as the investigation continues.
Today’s incident occurred at the site of the proposed 42-story Trump SoHo hotel condominium project. The building is currently built to the 42nd story.