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The Financial District Has a 670-Foot-Tall Leaning Tower

Financial District, Manhattan

Leaning Tower

161 Maiden Lane (right) is leaning three inches to the north (image via Google Maps).

April 5, 2019

Construction defects in new condominiums are hardly big news. But a 58-story condo tower in the Financial District may qualify as the mother of all construction defects: it’s leaning three inches to the north due to cost-cutting measures by the developer, a new lawsuit claims. 

The building’s contractor, Pizzarotti, filed the lawsuit Manhattan Supreme Court claiming the developer, Fortis Property Group, opted not to drive piles into the soft ground beneath 161 Maiden Lane at South Street, a decision that cut costs by $6 million. As a result, the suit says, “the building structure has settled and moved to such a degree that the structure is encroaching on a neighboring property line.” The lean on the 670-foot-tower could cause windows to plummet, the suit claims. A structural-engineering expert told the New York Post that the lean could also cause leaks, uneven floors, and doors that open randomly. Such problems will only get worse as the weight of the building – which is currently unoccupied and under construction – increases when water tanks and mechanical fixtures are added, the documents claim. 

Pizzarotti wants to break its contract with the developer, arguing it’s unsafe for workers or future residents to step inside. But Fortis argues this is just a last-ditch attempt by Pizzarotti to pass off blame for their own shoddy work. 

“This lawsuit is patently false from start to finish and nothing more than simple defamation,” a spokesperson for Fortis said. The rep said engineers have deemed the site safe, despite the “misalignment issue.” 

Meanwhile, area residents were not pleased by the news that there’s a 670-foot-tall leaning tower in their neighborhood. “The building is already ugly,” says Tom Butler, 41, “and now I need to walk my dog in the other direction so I’m not killed by falling debris.”

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