The investigation into the collapse of a Lower Manhattan parking garage last April is still underway. A Jan. 2 notice published in The City Record identified LERA Consulting Structural Engineers RLLP as the engineering firm assisting with the probe.
The New York City Dept. of Buildings (DOB) selected LERA, and the firm began working on the investigation, earlier in 2023 under an emergency solicitation following the April 18 collapse at 57 Ann Street, according to Andrew Rudansky, DOB press secretary.
DOB hired LERA to produce a cause and origin report determining factors that contributed to the collapse. The price of the contract is just under $1 million, according to the notice.
LERA’s work includes documenting and analyzing the structural and foundation elements, preparing plans and reviewing historic records, according to the notice. A representative from the firm declined to comment, deferring to DOB.
Rudansky said in an email that the report is part of DOB and law enforcement’s larger investigation into the incident. He declined to share any findings, as the investigation is ongoing.
The three-story garage “pancaked” down to the cellar floor, Kazimir Vilenchik, who was the DOB's acting commissioner at the time of the collapse, told reporters following the incident. Willis Moore, the garage’s manager, was killed.
A preliminary probe suggested that the age of the structure originally built in the 1920s and the amount of weight on the roof may have contributed to the collapse, Fire Dept. officials said in the days following the incident. The building’s certificate of occupancy was modified in 1957 to allow parking on the roof, but only with live loads of up to 75 lb per sq ft, compared to 120 lb per sq ft on the lower levels.
The collapse came in the months ahead of a deadline for parking structure owners in much of Manhattan to undergo inspections under NYC Local Law 126. Parking structures in other parts of the city have deadlines running through the end of 2027 for their inspections, though DOB added a requirement for an initial visual inspection last fall with the goal of accelerating the timeline and preventing a similar collapse.
In November, a garage in Hell’s Kitchen was shuttered for repairs and Amtrak train service running below it was temporarily suspended after an engineer working for the building’s owner discovered various defects, including a hole in a ramp through which the railroad could be seen below.
A city parking structure inspections map shows reports are still pending for most parking structures in Manhattan as well as the outer boroughs where the deadline has not yet passed. Dozens of structures listed on the map are identified as being “unsafe” or needing repairs and engineering monitoring.