Volume 75, Number 14 | August 24 - 30, 2005

Bulge on Christopher St. has helicopters hurrying

By Lincoln Anderson

Interior demolition work at the building on the southeast corner of Hudson and Christopher Sts. caused the building’s north wall to bulge outward 4 inches and raised fears of a potential collapse on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Jennifer Givner, a Department of Buildings spokesperson, permits had been issued for interior demolition work for 500 Hudson St., a 100-year-old, four-story brick building. Five residents who live in the building were relocated after the bulge occurred, sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The work was going on in the building’s ground-floor commercial space, where an adult-use business that was only open sporadically was formerly the tenant. According to a building inspector at the scene, the workers removed a supporting beam, causing the bulge. Givner said the bulge was technically a “3 percent bulge,” which apparently is not extremely large.

Nevertheless, Hudson St. was closed off for a few blocks around the site. At one point, five helicopters, probably mostly from TV news channels, were hovering overhead. The PATH trains were slowed down to 5 miles per hour and were to remain at that speed until the building was properly braced, Givner said. Things inside the building were shaking when the commuter trains were running at full speed. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development was to brace up the building Tuesday, and bill the owner for the expense, she said.

Building inspectors at the scene on Tuesday could be seen walking in and out of the building, shutting windows and so forth, giving the indication that a collapse was not imminent. Givner confirmed that the building is not deemed at risk for collapse once the shoring has been done.

She said no violations have been issued regarding the incident but that violations still could be issued at some point.

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