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Myrtle Point Construction Project Marred by Safety Violations But Construction Continues

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

In April 2022, a construction worker died from injuries sustained from a construction accident.  He was removing plywood at the Myrtle Point construction site, a 17 story tower. It is slated to become the tallest building in the area bordering Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The worker slipped and fell from the first-floor stairwell approximately 20 feet through a hole into the basement. He was rushed to Wyckoff Hospital and the next day was declared dead from the injuries sustained in his fall, according to the safety incident report filed by his employer.

After the accident, a Department of Buildings inspector visited the construction site and “observed no safety measures to safeguard workers,” according to the violation report, which considered the incident an aggravated offense level two, the most serious violation from the agency. The judge of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings in New York upheld the violation and slapped the contractor, AB Capstone Builders Corp, with the maximum penalty — a $25,000 fine. For that single incident, the Department of Buildings would issue additional violations for penalties worth $55,000 in total. 

The penalties were imposed after the project, slated to be called Myrtle Point — a mixed-use complex with four floors of commercial space and 133 residential units, of which 30 percent would be an “affordable component” — had been fully suspended on three instances since 2021. As of today, the Department of Buildings has issued five full-stop work orders after considering that the work on any of the 90,000-square-foot property was unsafe for workers. 

Typically, construction would be halted until the safety violations were fixed permanently and worker safety was assured.  However, that was not the case with Myrtle Point. 

The project, which has received more than $143 million in funding from the private equity firm Madison Realty Capital, has moved forward after the Department of Buildings (DOB) lifted the stop work orders, despite the opposition of tenants and New York state senator Jessica Ramos. “If the DOB is listening: stop AB Capstone, stop this project. Stop any project where workers are getting hurt. Take our safety seriously,” said Ramos during a vigil for Molina in front of the construction site, at 3-50 St. Nicholas Avenue, on April 13.

“The tragic fatal worker fall that took place earlier this year at 3-50 St. Nicholas Avenue is still under investigation by DOB and our partners in law enforcement”, Ryan Degan, deputy press secretary of the NYC Department of Buildings, wrote in an email to Documented

We represent injured construction workers and their families in these egregious cases where worker safety takes a back seat in favor of profits.  Contact us today if you or a loved one have been injured in a construction site accident. 

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