By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — Construction on Pace University's new 24-story dorm is already two months behind schedule.
To speed up the project at Broadway and John Street, the developer wants to work extra hours on evenings and Saturdays. But local residents are objecting that the extended hours will hurt their quality of life.
"It's not our fault that you're behind," Catherine McVay Hughes, vice chairwoman of Community Board 1, told the developers at a recent meeting. "I don't understand why the community has to suffer."
Hughes, who lives next to the construction site, said she has already heard complaints from her neighbors about the noisy work, and the last thing anyone wants is for the construction to last longer hours.
Despite the community objections, Bob DeWitt, a senior vice president at developer SL Green Realty Corp., said he still plans to apply for city permits to work an extra two to three hours on weekday evenings, until dusk, and eight hours on Saturdays. He said it was unlikely that the Department of Buildings would grant the project a hard-to-get Saturday permit, but he wanted to at least try.
DeWitt said the extra hours are needed or else the 600-student dorm will not be ready to open on schedule in 2013.
The new dorm, designed by architect Karl Fischer, will replace residential space Pace rents in Brooklyn Heights and will bring more of the students close to the university's main campus in lower Manhattan.
The project got off to a slow start this spring because of delays in Con Edison work, which prevented the contractor from starting demolition on the three existing buildings on the site, DeWitt said. The demolition work finally began in late April, about two months behind schedule, DeWitt said.
Hughes, though, called the developer "a bad neighbor" and said workers with Waldorf Demolition have been rude to her when she expressed concerns about dust, vibrations and idling vehicles.
CB1's Financial District Committee plans to write a letter to the Department of Buildings expressing their concerns about the project and the after-hours variances.
At last week's meeting, Hughes left the developers with one final warning.
"We want you to know we're watching you," she said.