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August 10, 2007

Building's collapse no surprise

Ratner knew of damage to Ward building, but didn't halt demolition - report

NY Daily News
By Jotham Sederstrom

Three months after the partial collapse of the Ward Baking Company building in Prospect Heights, engineers have determined the crash was due to nearly a century of water damage.

In a seven-page report issued July 25, the Buildings Department also laid blame on developer Forest City Ratner for not alerting a demolition crew to the extent of the damage.

"Forest City Ratner had been apprised of the deterioration of the facade and the parapet, but the extent of the deterioration and the risk of the collapse had apparently not been communicated to the crew that had been assigned the task of removing tar and asbestos," the report states.

Forest City and its subsidiary, Pacific Vanderbilt Development Co., were slapped with violations for failing to maintain an exterior building wall, and Gateway Demolition was hit for failing to protect its workers, a Buildings Department spokeswoman said.

Forest City also was cited for removing a sidewalk shed while locating a sewer line near the building and failing to replace it, the report states.
Forest City executive Bruce Bender did not say yesterday why the demolition crew had begun work despite its knowledge that the building was in poor condition, but he said company officials would review the report.


NoLandGrab: The News reports that the report was issued more than two weeks ago, but Forest City Executive VP Bruce Bender assures the press and public that "company officials would review the report" — comforting. Bender doesn't even take it seriously enough to come up with his own version of "mistakes were made."

Posted by lumi at August 10, 2007 10:35 AM