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Owner of Stalled Union Square Site Fined $10K After Blowing Off Hearings

By Noah Hurowitz | March 27, 2017 8:10am
 Construction at 133 Third Ave. has been frozen since 2012, when  a contractor sent cement pouring through the wall of the NYU dorm next door.
Construction at 133 Third Ave. has been frozen since 2012, when a contractor sent cement pouring through the wall of the NYU dorm next door.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

GRAMERCY — The city has fined the developer of a stalled Third Avenue work site more than $10,000 after he failed to show up to a pair of hearings related to violations at the site, records show.

John Pappas, the owner of 133 Third Ave., a construction site that has been essentially shut down since 2012, and his contractor skipped out on Environmental Control Board hearings March 9 and March 16, adding $10,090 to fines he owes the city, Department of Buildings records show.

See Also: Stalled Work Site Leaves Gramercy Sidewalk a Filthy Safety Risk, Locals Say

The hearings were just the latest dates blown off by Pappas and his contractors, who have defaulted on nine ECB hearings since May 2015, leading to tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Since then, Pappas and his contractors have paid about $14,500 in fines stemming from violations in which they skipped hearings, and still owe $20,090 for the missed hearings in March, along with one in December for which they were fined $10,000, according to DOB records.

They owe an additional $8,364 stemming from a hearing in August at which they were found to be in violation due to a lack of lighting in the construction shed, which takes up most of the sidewalk in front of the site, records show.

The work site has drawn criticism from neighbors, who complain of broken pavement on the sidewalk in front of the site and say the construction shed is an eyesore that has plagued the block for years.

Plans for a 16-story, mixed-use building, hit what has been a long-term roadblock in 2012, when a construction accident caused concrete to burst through the wall of an NYU dorm next door.

The operator of that dorm, a contractor for NYU, sued Pappas to halt the project, and it has remained in limbo ever since as the lawsuit makes its way through court and as Pappas and his contractors continue to rack up fines from the city.

The broken pavement and blocked sidewalk has become a potentially dangerous annoyance to commuters forced to queue up at a bus shelter less than three yards north of the site, neighbors say. The city has moved the bus stop to a temporary location below 14th Street, but the shelter remains in place and a lack of signage results in confusion for some straphangers who continue to use the shelter.


In a brief telephone interview with DNAinfo, Pappas said he was optimistic that work would resume “within 30 days,” a prediction he also made in December.

“A lot of different stuff is holding it up, but we’re gonna get started soon,” he said.