Balconies Unsafe at New Fourth Ave Condo Building, City Says

By Leslie Albrecht on July 11, 2013 7:59am 

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 Records show the FDNY called for an inspection after loose and leaning fire escapes were discovered.
Structural Problems at New Fourth Avenue Condo Building
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PARK SLOPE — Residents in a new high-rise condo where apartments sell in the $800,000s are being warned to stay off their balconies after inspectors discovered cracks on several terraces recently, a Department of Buildings spokeswoman said.

The DOB ordered residents at 500 Fourth Ave. not to go onto their balconies — a selling point in the 12-story building — because inspectors found "deterioration in the concrete" and pieces in danger of falling, according to DOB records.

The FDNY requested the inspection because a fire escape was "loose and leaning," records show.

The DOB issued a violation and a "partial vacate order" this week to keep tenants indoors until the problems are resolved, a DOB spokeswoman said.

A scaffolding was erected around the base of the 156-unit building, between 12th and 13th streets, and work crews were there on Wednesday. A resident leaving the building said he was told by a maintenance worker that the scaffolding went up after "something fell" from a balcony.

Another resident outside the building Wednesday said she wasn't concerned about the problems, and that property managers had sent a memo to residents explaining the situation. "I'm not worried," the resident said. "I'm sure I could step out on my balcony if I wanted to. It's pretty stable."

A 311 caller complained July 7 about "shaking/vibrating/structural stability" at the building, a spokesman for the city's 311 program said. The complaint was routed to the DOB for assessment.

Building workers on site did not respond to questions or provide contact information for property management.

A spokesman for City Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who represents the area, said Gonzalez's office hadn't received any complaints about the building, but added that Gonzalez would be monitoring the situation closely, especially because a day care center recently got permission to set up shop in one of the building's commercial spaces. "The councilwoman is very concerned," spokesman Mike Schweinsburg said.

A two-bedroom 11th floor apartment in the building is currently on the market for $799,000, and a two-bedroom ninth floor apartment sold for $844,000 in 2012, according to StreetEasy. The building is one of several new residential high-rises along this rapidly developing stretch of Fourth Avenue, the quickly blurring dividing line between Park Slope and Gowanus.

When the building was completed in 2010, real estate listings lured buyers with descriptions of amenities such as a full-time doorman, and "hotel-style concierge service." The building was reportedly developed by Isaac Katan, who ran afoul of South Slope residents — and the city's Board of Standards and Appeals — in 2005 after he started construction on a new condo building at 182 15th St. without proper permits.

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