Friday, September 23, 2016
Arverne owners file lawsuit over poor construction
Households who bought affordable condominiums in a city-sponsored Queens development are now stuck with $10 million in repairs due to shoddy construction, a lawsuit filed earlier this month alleges.
On Sept. 1, the condo board for Waters Edge at Arverne sued the Briarwood Organization and its principals, which built the 130-unit complex in the Rockaways after winning a request for proposals issued by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The board is seeking a total of about $150 million from the developer and another $60 million from the project's designers, AIA Architects.
Waters Edge, a development for low- and moderate-income households, was approved during the Bloomberg administration and completed in 2009. The complex is composed of 65 two-story buildings featuring a condo unit on each floor. The average cost for a two-bedroom unit was $188,000 and $300,000 for a three-bedroom.
Among several causes of action, the suit alleges that gutters, roofs and the frames of doors and windows were improperly installed and sealed, which has led to standing water, leaks and structural water damage. The findings were detailed in a 2015 report commissioned by the law firm Adam Leitman Bailey, which is representing the board. Many of the boilers in the complex were also installed contrary to the manufacturer's directions, residents said, which has left some homes without enough heat and causes a particular room to remain perpetually cold.
Additionally, the suit claims at least two aspects of Waters Edge's design violate the city's building code, even though the plans were approved by the city's Department of Buildings. For example, a valve to shut off the water supply to the apartments should be located in each unit, according to building code. But at Waters Edge, valves for both units in a house are located in the first floor condo. Similarly, the electric code states that every resident will have "ready access" to a box of circuit breakers. But in the complex, both circuit-breaker boxes are located within the top unit's garage. According to a Buildings Department spokesman, the city conducted several audits of the blueprints before construction began, but did not cite the owner for the locations of the water shut-off valves or circuit boxes.