New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




Plan to "Tear Down Those Sidewalk Sheds!" Gains Steam

New York City

Sidewalk sheds, Local Law 11, Facade Improvement and Safety Program, co-op and condo boards.

The city's oldest sidewalk shed, at 409 Edgecombe Ave., has been standing since 2006.

April 17, 2023

Could it be that the city is finally going to do something about sidewalk sheds that stay up for years and years?

The answer appears to be: maybe so. Manhattan borough president Mark Levine has proposed a package of reforms designed to expedite the dismantling of sidewalk sheds, and Crain's has just come out with an editorial supporting the proposals. Levine's goal is to prevent repeats of some  New York City darker urban legends, including the sidewalk shed that stood around the Department of Buildings offices for 11 years before it came down in 2019, or the Methuselah of sidewalk sheds that has been standing in front of 409 Edgecombe Ave. in Washington Heights since 2006, when George W. Bush was president. (The building owners recently pleaded guilty in a criminal case to violating the city administrative code, a DOB spokesman says, and agreed to finish repairs at the building this year.)

"The Department of Buildings and the state and local governments should take the borough president’s report seriously and shed all unnecessary sheds once and for all," the Crain's editorial states.

There are more than 9,000 sheds protecting New York city sidewalks from falling construction and repair debris. They were mandated under Local Law 11, now known as the Facade Inspection and Safety Program. They cover 2 million linear feet and stay up for an average of 498 days. Many building owners leave the sheds up for years and pay fines because it's cheaper than repairing their buildings.

Levine's plan addresses such abuses. It would provide low-interest loans to building owners, including co-op and condo boards, who can’t afford extensive facade repairs. Permitting would be streamlined and fines increased for buildings that fail to complete renovation work. Drones would be used to inspect facades, and buildings that undergo major renovations would be subject to a new inspection after seven years instead of the normal five.

Levine's plan would require approval by the state Legislature, never a sure bet. But with Crain's, the Real Estate Board of New York and others warming to the plan, the end of forever sheds might finally be on the horizon.

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?