MEATPACKING DISTRICT — A massive construction project in the Meatpacking District where a worker was killed — that's being turned into a Restoration Hardware — is too big and cannot be used as a large retail store, according to the Department of Buildings.
Aurora Capital Associates is developing 9-19 Ninth Ave., the former home of the restaurant Pastis, into a 58,659-square-foot Restoration Hardware flagship store, according to multiple media reports. That's far more than the 10,000 square feet allowed by the city's building code.
DNAinfo obtained a March 9 letter from the Dept. of Buildings to Aurora principal Robert Cayre and his architect, Peter Wormser, that stated the agency's intent to revoke their approval and permit for construction at 9-19 Ninth Ave.
An attached Notice of Objections explains that the building is zoned for up to 10,000 square feet of retail, mercantile or furniture retail establishments, well below the project's proposed 58,659 square feet of retail.
The letter explains that the DOB can revoke approvals for failure to comply with the city code "or whenever a false statement or misrepresentation of material fact in the submittal documents upon the basis of which the approval was issued, or whenever any approval or permit is issued in error."
A rendering of the Restoration Hardware store being built at 9-19 Ninth Ave.
It also takes issue with the use specified on Aurora's application document, which was "interior decorating establishment." The maximum floor area for such a use is 750 square feet, according to the DOB.
Construction has continued, however.
According to a DOB spokesman, "the applicant engaged the Department to resolve the issues."
But the spokesman said the issues haven't been resolved yet. According to the DOB, all a developer needs to do is respond to such a letter and continue to engage the department.
"Once they begin to attempt to resolve the objections, there is no set time," the spokesman said. "If they stop engaging, then DOB would move ahead with a revocation."
The spokesman said the reason the city has not issued a stop work order is because the construction itself is not against code — the issue is the building's ultimate use as a flagship retail store.
Aurora Capital Associates declined to comment.
Their original general contractor at the site, Harco Construction, was just convicted of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in New York Supreme Court for the death of a young worker at the site last year.
Carlos Moncayo was crushed to death in an excavation pit on April 6, 2015, just four days shy of his 23rd birthday. His death spurred an investigation by the city, resulting in criminal charges against Harco and the excavation subcontractor, Sky Materials Corp., as well as two employees, Harco superintendent Alfonso Prestia and Sky foreman Wilmer Cueva.
Sky, Prestia and Cueva are still awaiting trial.
Aurora was not censured by the city in relation to Moncayo's death.