Dangling Crane Secured While Questions, Litigation Remain

The dangling crane at 57th Street that Hurricane Sandy snapped from the One57 building (the “billionaires building”) in Midtown Manhattan, 74 stories up, has finally been secured. However, several questions remain about how the crane with a 150-foot mast broke loose in the first place.

The dangling crane at 57th Street that Hurricane Sandy snapped from the One57 building (the “billionaires building“) in Midtown Manhattan, 74 stories up, has finally been secured. However, several questions remain about how the crane with a 150-foot mast broke loose in the first place.  The 90 story building, one of Manhattan’s most ambitious real estate projects, residential or otherwise, has seen high demand from some of the world richest people.  Units at One57, to be NYC’s tallest residential building, are selling for up to $90 million.

The city Department of Buildings and the crane owner, Pinnacle Industries, spent the better part of a day and a half carefully turning the crane into position so that it could be tethered to the under construction tower. The securing of the crane brings a temporary end to the drama that began last week as Sandy’s winds reached 80 M.P.H. and flipped the crane over. Six days later the crane was secured. During the six days the crane was precariously dangling 1,000 feet in the air over the street, the city shut down the entire area between W. 56th and 57th Streets between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The area has now reopened.

Litigation from businesses forced to evacuate because of the danger the dangling crane posed is likely to happen involving One57 developers Extell and Lend Lease. The evacuated businesses, including including Le Parker Meridien and the Salisbury hotels, lost out on an as yet undetermined amount of profits as they were forced to evacuate stores and commercial space.  Additionally, area residents also had to leave their apartments.

Civil litigation may be the least of the immediate worries. If investigators find that the crane was not secured properly, or willfully violated and/or ignored city safety rules and ordinances, criminal negligence charges could also be filed.  If the crane were to have snapped, it could have unleashed an enormous amount of property damage as well as an untold number of injuries.

Extell issued a statement affirming that Lend Lease “took all recommended measures to position the crane in anticipation of a hurricane”. While the crane is now secured, the questions about why the crane fell and what could have been differently will take much longer to sort out.

 

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