Brooklyn’s Hastily Built Condos Are Now Falling Apart


We spend not a small amount of time rolling our eyes at much of what’s in the New York Times Real Estate section, but every once in a while, there’s something really good that makes the section’s whole existence worthwhile. Case in point? An article from last Friday which reveals that several of the new condo buildings built in Brooklyn over the last few years are literally falling apart. Oh, no! How tragic.

So, as it turns out, when buildings are constructed hastily and with the sole intention of maximizing profit, sometimes corners are cut. At least, this is what seems to be the case with buildings like 500 4th Avenue, “a 156-unit condo in Brooklyn that opened in 2010, [where] trouble began in July 2013 when concrete fell from the 12-story building’s facade and balconies onto the streets below.” After this happened, “the fledgling condo board hired an architectural firm that determined that the top layer of concrete on the balconies and ledges had not been laid properly and that the glass railings had been improperly anchored. The price tag for repairs topped $1 million.” Other Brooklyn buildings have faced similar problems, including, the Times reports, 550 Grand Street, which has faced significant water drainage and leaking problems.

We don’t want to sound too gleeful about any of this—we really don’t! It must be terrible for the residents who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing apartments only to realize that not only are their buildings defective, but they will also have a huge problem if they try to sell their places in the foreseeable future. Nobody wants to buy into a building that’s falling apart. And yet. Who we don’t really feel all that bad for are the developers who will hopefully face tons of lawsuits and years of legal problems due to the fact that they built shoddy homes with no regard for the communities in which they were building and motivated so purely by greed that they barely paused to consider safety. We hope that they will be so plagued by the problems their buildings have wrought on the Brooklyn residential landscape that they slow down a little as they continue their ongoing development of the borough (the investors behind both 500 4th Avenue and 550 Grand Street have other buildings in the works in Brooklyn), and consider what it is that they are doing when they put up a building: It isn’t just about generating money, it’s about building a future for an entire city. Well, we hope that’s what will happen anyway. We can dream, can’t we?

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