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Corey Johnson Concerned About High Line Condo Developer

By Rosa Goldensohn | February 11, 2015 6:49pm | Updated on February 18, 2015 7:07am
 Johnson wrote a letter to developer Michael Stern voicing his concern.
Johnson wrote a letter to developer Michael Stern voicing his concern.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

CHELSEA — City Councilman Corey Johnson told a condo developer coming to Chelsea to respect safety rules and pay workers well, DNAinfo New York has learned. 

In a Feb. 9 letter obtained by DNAinfo, Johnson voiced his concern to Michael Stern of JDS Development Group, which plans to build a condo near the High Line at West 24th Street between 10th and 11th avenues.

“I would ask that JDS adopt strong safety protocols on the site and only hire contractors and subcontractors with strong safety records,” Johnson wrote. “I also believe that employers should provide adequate training to employees and compensate them with a fair wage as well as benefits necessary to support a family in this city.”

Johnson also said that he had tried to visit one of Stern’s other construction sites following reports of two accidents, but was denied access. 

Stern did not respond to a request for comment. 

JDS and Largo Ventures, an Israeli family affair run by Nissim Ben-Nun, according to LinkedIn, bought the land in July, the Real Deal reported. JDS has built a series of Manhattan luxury towers without union labor, Crain's wrote in January. 

JDS was slapped with 14 Department of Buildings violations and more than $18,000 in fines for unsafe construction building 210 W. 18th Street, according to DOB records. In one incident, a worker fell through a floor opening because there was no place to hook up his harness, the complaint said. 

“Construction is a very dangerous industry,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the NYC Building and Construction Trades Council. “We don’t believe JDS is working as a responsible developer.”

Johnson’s letter follows a similar statement to Stern from Public Advocate Letitia James about construction at another JDS project, 111 W. 57th Street. While both stopped short of demanding the developers work with unions, Johnson said Stern should match the “standards” set by collective bargaining.

“I believe all workers should be treated with dignity and respect, and that they should be fairly compensated with area standard wages and benefits,” Johnson wrote.