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Village Building Set to Be First in Manhattan Razed Due to Sandy Damage

By Andrea Swalec | February 4, 2013 7:12am

WEST VILLAGE — A West Street building that was inundated with floodwaters during Hurricane Sandy will likely be torn down, making it the first Sandy-struck building in Manhattan to be demolished.

Permits have been filed for 401 West St. to be razed when current work to remove asbestos there concludes, according to the Department of Buildings.

After Sandy compounded previous structural issues with the building, causing a cellar wall to collapse, DOB ordered on Nov. 23 that 401 West St. be vacated, a department spokeswoman said.

Business tenant B2PRO, a camera and lighting equipment rental firm located on the first floor of the three-story building, says it suffered $10 million in damage during the storm.

But company executive Brent Langton said Friday that B2PRO's pricey gear got water-logged because the huge condo construction project located behind the building, at 150 Charles St., failed to secure four large wooden construction barriers that set sail in the floodwaters, slammed into 401 West St. and pushed open its glass doors.

"The water would not have entered the building if the construction barriers had stayed outside," Langton said.

B2PRO equipment manager Jared Roessler was inside the building as the Hudson River surged over its banks on Oct. 29. Sandbags workers placed outside the business's double-layer glass doors held back the floodwaters until the construction barriers struck them.

"When those barriers hit, they punched right through," Roessler said Friday.

Once the glass doors opened, 3 feet of water surged inside, drowning the camera and lighting gear, Roessler said.

Langton — who is running the business three doors south of its original building with gear sent from the company's Los Angeles location — said he is considering a lawsuit against the Witkoff Group, which is creating the 150 Charles St. complex.

The developer did not respond to a request for comment.

An attorney for Sam Azani, the owner of 401 West St. listed in city Department of Finance records, did not answer questions about the demolition plans or what's next for the site.

Rob Marrone, a building owner cited on a notice spotted on the building Friday, also declined to answer questions.

No new sale of the building has been recorded with the Department of Finance. 

The building was also occupied by the hair care product company Oribe, which also did not respond to an inquiry.