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Fulton Street Water Main Construction Project Hits Landmark Snag

By Julie Shapiro on December 28, 2011 6:59am 

LOWER MANHATTAN — Repairs to a landmarked building have created another delay for the seemingly never-ending water main project on Fulton Street, city officials said last week.

The city has had to halt work on part of the massive Fulton Street water main replacement because of urgent repairs needed on a landmarked building at 150 Nassau St., said Tom Foley, assistant commissioner at the Department of Design and Construction.

Because of safety concerns, the city cannot resume excavating the street in front of the 116-year-old building until the repairs are complete and the scaffolding comes down this spring, Foley said.

"The scaffolding installed at 150 Nassau St. was hindering our work," Foley said at a Community Board 1 meeting last week, where residents asked about construction delays.

"It is not safe for the contractor to excavate at the curb line [near the scaffolding]."

The delays follow a three-week hiatus this fall when renovations had to stop because of safety concerns.

The city's engineers found a way to change the order of water main construction to prevent the overall project from falling behind. But if the work at 150 Nassau St. is not done by the beginning of April, clearing the way for the city's contractor to get started, the city will apply more pressure, officials said.

"Come April, if [the 150 Nassau St. repairs] aren't done, we'll…issue violations to the owner and they'll have to perform the work themselves," Foley told CB1. "They will be responsible for the cost, [which is] more than $50,000…. Hopefully that will be incentive enough."

The building's superintendent and its manager did not immediately return calls for comment.

A worker at 150 Nassau St., who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the construction would be finished on time.

The repairs at 150 Nassau St., a converted condo building near City Hall that once housed the New York Sun, include removing and restoring decorative pieces of the façade, including gargoyles and sculptures of winged women, according to the Department of Design and Construction and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Foley said the building has "imminent safety concerns."

The $23 million Fulton Street water main project, which started in the summer of 2007 and also includes work on adjacent blocks like Nassau Street, is scheduled to finish by the end of 2012, Foley said. The section on Nassau Street is scheduled to finish in June 2012.

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