Evacuation of 4 parking garages in NYC ordered after previous collapse

In the wake of a deadly collapse of a lower Manhattan parking garage last week, New York City officials found structural problems at four other garages so dangerous that they ordered the buildings at least partially vacated.

At the four garages — two in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn — the city’s Department of Buildings found the structures had “deteriorated to the point where they now posed an immediate threat to public safety,” said Andrew Rudansky, a department spokesman.

The discoveries, he said, came during garage inspections conducted after the April 1[ads1]8 collapse of a garage on Ann Street in Manhattan’s financial district that left its manager dead in the rubble and five others injured.

Engineers found a two-story garage at 2781 Stillwell Avenue in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn to be in “severe disrepair,” Rudansky said. The department issued a “full evacuation order” for the entire building and ordered the owners to close for business and immediately retain a professional engineer to prepare a structural report, he said.

In a multi-level garage beneath a 25-story apartment building in Battery Park City, engineers found concrete that was “extensively corroded” and “split concrete” on the underside of two floor slabs, Rudansky said.

Spalling is a sign that the concrete is deteriorating. It often happens when water seeps into the concrete and corrodes steel bars embedded inside the slab. The corroded steel expands and causes the concrete to crack and crumble, or spall.

Spalling of the concrete in a parking garage was cited as a factor in the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium complex in Surfside, Florida.

At the Battery Park City garage, at 225 Rector Place, the building department ordered 60 percent of the structure vacated and ordered the owners to install a protective road so drivers can reach their cars safely in the rest of the garage, Mr. Rudansky said.

He said the department directed the building’s owners to retain a professional engineer to prepare a structural report on the garage, but added that department engineers found no reason for the apartments above the garage to be vacated.

As the investigation into the cause of the Ann Street collapse continues, inspectors fanned out to assess the condition of 78 garages across the city. Mr. Rudansky said 17 of those garages were managed by the same company that managed the one that collapsed. The other 61 had previously been reported for serious structural problems that the department’s records showed had not been resolved, he said.

Until last year, parking garage owners in New York City were not required to have their structures inspected on a regular basis. But under a new local law, garages in Manhattan below 59th Street and on the Upper West Side must hire qualified engineers and submit inspection reports by the end of 2023, and every two years after that.

Garages in other parts of the city will also be required to have inspections, but with later deadlines for submitting their first reports.

Another of the garages ordered to vacate is under an eight-story apartment building at 50 Bayard Street, in the Chinatown area of ​​Manhattan. Engineers found “many severely deteriorated and rusted steel girders, with excessive cracking and spalling of concrete piers at various locations throughout the parking structure,” Rudansky said.

They also found that the necessary fire protection materials were missing in various areas, he said. The building’s owners were required to vacate the entire garage, as well as part of the basement. They must also retain a professional engineer and hire a general contractor to immediately provide emergency support inside the building.

The engineers did not find it necessary to vacate the apartments.

In a two-story garage in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, at 429 12th Street, engineers found “structurally compromised and extensively corroded plate beams and columns,” Rudansky said.

They also found that parts of the second floor slab and vehicle ramp were “deteriorated” and the wooden ceiling beams on the second floor were in a “state of disrepair”. The department ordered that areas with unsafe conditions be abandoned – around 400 square meters of the building. The garage must bring in a professional engineer and a contractor to support the “compromised” areas.

A partial eviction order notice, dated April 27, and a sketch showing the unsafe areas were posted on a window in the garage Friday night.

Asmaa Elkeurt contributed reporting.

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