Queens, N.Y.-based contractor Central Construction Management LLC recently began work on the core-and-shell restoration of an aging parking garage on South William Street in Manhattan’s Financial District. The garage is one of nearly 150 parking structures found to be either “unsafe” or in need of repairs and continued monitoring so far in the first cycle of inspection reports required under a new New York City Dept. of Buildings program, records show.
The 75,000-sq-ft, seven-story garage’s deterioration was discovered during an inspection mandated by the city’s Periodic Inspection for Parking Structures (PIPS) program, which was created by a local law passed in 2021.
The owners of 1,056 parking structures in Lower Manhattan, Midtown and the Upper West Side were due to file their first PIPS report before Jan. 1, but Dept. of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo announced on Jan. 18 that DOB has only received 655 reports so far. And DOB data show the status of hundreds more garages with reports submitted is still pending review, so more may still be determined to be in need of repair.
Property owners face fines of $1,000 each month their reports are overdue, plus an additional $5,000 penalty if they fail to file a report by the end of the year. DOB officials say they expect the 62% compliance rate to improve as property owners become accustomed to the new requirements and submit late reports.
While many owners have been slow to meet PIPS requirements, the program appears to already be having an impact. In November, engineers inspecting a garage on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen discovered various structural defects including two holes in ramps that were open to a railroad below. Temporary shoring was installed and repairs are underway as the garage remains closed for now.
“These inspection reports for parking structures are not just more paperwork for property owners, they are a powerful new tool to protect the public against hazardous building conditions.” Oddo said in a statement.
Garage Inspection Deadlines
The deadlines for garage owners in the remainder of Manhattan and the outer boroughs to file their initial PIPS reports are staggered through 2027. Owners are then required to file a new report every six years.
DOB accelerated the first reporting requirement for owners of 3,317 parking structures with those later report deadlines after the partial collapse of a parking garage on Ann Street in Lower Manhattan last April. One-time initial observation reports for those structures, which are less in-depth than the full PIPS reports, are due by Aug. 1.
Earlier this month, a city notice identified LERA Consulting Structural Engineers RLLP as the engineering firm working on a cause and origin report about the Ann Street collapse as part of DOB’s probe into the incident. David Maggiotto, deputy press secretary at DOB, now says the demolition and stabilization work at the site is complete and the block recently reopened to traffic. Vacate orders on the street have been lifted, other than at two nearby buildings that were damaged in the initial collapse.
Owners of “unsafe” garages like the one being repaired on South William Street are required to take action within 90 days. In that case, work is expected to take about 18 months to complete, according to the contractor. The scope of work includes shoring the entire structure, replacement of drainage, lighting, interior concrete masonry unit block walls, perimeter railings and parapets plus application of a waterproof deck coating. O&S Associates Engineers and Architects is the project’s design consultant. Michael DiFonzo, president of Central Construction, said in a statement that the “very active garage” can normally accommodate more than 400 cars on a given day.
“With the extensive wear-and-tear and deterioration discovered on the overall structure, we will be rebuilding nearly everything inside and out to reinforce the safety of the public, the staff and the cars,” he said.