News Wrap: $1.3B in N.J. Water Work Ok'd; MWBEs Transport Work Up; Data Center Planned (& More)
NYC Mayor Selects New Head of DOB
Amid criticism for taking too long to fill major vacancies in his administration, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has chosen Rick Chandler as the new commissioner of the Dept. of Buildings. Chandler replaces Thomas Fariello, acting commissioner, who took the helm after Robert LiMandri resigned at the end of last year.
A professional engineer, Chandler was Hunter College's assistant vice president of facilities. He also served as borough commissioner of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx from 1995 to 2002. "The stakes of this work are incredibly high," Chandler said in a statement. "We're there to help get more affordable housing and job-creating construction under way."
Since becoming mayor, de Blasio had been routinely questioned about when he would name a permanent replacement for LiMandri. Chandler fills the last of the administration's major posts.
Israeli Contractor in First U.S. JV for Dumbo Rehab
In its first U.S.-based joint venture, Israeli contractor Danya Cebus Ltd. has teamed with New York City-based Hudson Meridian Construction Group LLC on a $33-million project to convert a three-story industrial warehouse landmark, located in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn into a 74-unit condo.
The project, set amid structures that date to the 19th century, will involve converting the 90,000-sq-ft building into a seven-story, 170,000-sq-ft structure while restoring the landmarked facade.
The interior of the building, which had housed artist studios, will include duplexes, penthouses and a townhouse, the firms say.
Dumbo, an acronym that stands for "down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass," is an old industrial district along the Brooklyn waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. It gained city landmark status in 2007 and has become a key hub for artists and technology firms.
"The facade is to be restored, and new windows, in keeping with the industrial feel of the building, will be installed," says William Cote, Hudson Meridian president.
Manhattan-based Slate Property Group is the project owner.
Work began in June and is set for completion in November 2015, according to Cote.
Danya Cebus will perform work through its New York City-based unit, Danya Cebus Construction LLC. The Israeli firm specializes in residential and infrastructure projects in Israel, Russia and Romania.
The firm, which has worked in the U.S., has not teamed with partners here, executives say. Cote says the firms may also team on another Brooklyn project, but declined to release details.
New York City
U.S. Charges WTC Steel Erector With MWBE Fraud
Federal prosecutors charged steel fabricator and erector Larry Davis, the owner of DCM Erectors Inc., with using front companies and a fraudulent joint venture to fulfill goals for hiring minority- and women-owned companies during construction of One World Trade Center and the adjacent transportation hub in New York City.
Prosecutors revealed the charges in late July in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Davis was released on $100,000 bail. Sanford Talkin, an attorney for Davis, denied the charges against his client. He did not say whether Davis would plead guilty or innocent when a formal indictment is made.
The charges follow a pattern common to other M/WBE fraud schemes that, in recent years, have been prosecuted more frequently in New York and other cities. In this instance, if the charges are true, the alleged fraud would have been carried out in close proximity to other companies and public officials at one of the most watched and symbolically significant projects in the country: Ground Zero in Manhattan. The possible charges were first disclosed by The New York Times last fall.
According to the charges, Davis arranged with the owners of two firms, Solera Construction Inc. and GLS Enterprises Inc., a minority- and woman-owned company, respectively, to hire the companies as subcontractors to fulfill goals set by the Port Authority.