Construction at One Seaport, aka 161 Maiden Lane, has been noticeably paused for the past several months. The 60-story reinforced concrete structure topped-out back in early September, and it was unclear until recently why further progress had halted. However, new reports have revealed the 670-foot-tall building is actually leaning three inches to the north, leading to a series of legal disputes between Fortis Property Group, LLC, the developer, and Pizzarotti LLC, the current contractor. The project is being designed by Hill West Architects while Groves & Co is serving as the interior designer. Douglas Elliman is handling sales of the units.
RC Structures, the concrete subcontractor, first noticed the error, which led Pizzarotti to sue Fortis in late March. Pizzarotti argues that Fortis cut corners to save on construction costs for the foundations by utilizing a cheaper method to strengthen the land by draining and compacting the dirt. This approach was done instead of the typical use of pilings driven into the soil, which would have sat underneath the reinforced concrete foundation slabs and perimeter walls. This stage of development was completed before Pizzarotti was hired in December 2015 to handle construction.
Meanwhile, Fortis claims that Pizzarotti was performing poor construction practices in the pouring of the slabs and states there are no safety concerns regarding the off-centered alignment of the building. They also proclaimed that the differential settlement had been taken into account. Pizzarotti is receiving a large amount of money for the cost of overruns as well as issuing an injunction against Fortis to fix the structural integrity and design of One Seaport before work can resume.
It is important to bear in mind that the site for One Seaport did not exist when the island of Manhattan was first settled. New York City’s feverish pace of growth and expansion has altered and expanded the topographical outline of Manhattan and the other four boroughs with millions of cubic feet of landfill. The close proximity to the waters of the East River is also more than enough reason to utilize pilings and deeper foundations.
It remains unclear how this will affect the plans for 80 South Street directly next door. There is a question of whether One Seaport should remain standing or be demolished for imposing a safety concern for the surrounding area and the possible construction of the adjacent supertall. Fortis and Pizzarotti have currently ended their mutual contracts. Ray Builders has now been hired to redesign and fix the curtain wall.
So far there has been no word on an updated completion date or what will happen with the issue of the leaning.