Volume 17 • Issue 26 | Nov. 19 - 25, 2004



Soho loft building is evacuated after backhoe bursts water main

In the latest construction-related evacuation in Soho, a backhoe digging a new sewer line for a building at 51 Crosby St. last Wednesday around noon cracked open a water main, causing a flood. Water ran into the basement of the neighboring, six-story 53 Crosby St., causing the building’s six units to be evacuated Nov. 10.

Josh Simons, 46, an art director living at 53 Crosby St., said the building is now facing an expense of up to $70,000 for a new elevator. The building’s antiquated Soho elevator was totally wrecked by the flood, which left 3 ft. of silt at the bottom of the shaft. It’s a disaster for the building, whose units are joint work-live quarters.

“We have to get stuff up,” Simons said. The building’s stability appears to be O.K., but they are still checking it, he said.

Simons said the new project is huge, including six smaller units on Crosby St. and 111 units on Lafayette St. Richard Meier was the original architect on the job, but may no longer be involved, he added.

Both Simons and Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said virtually every construction project in Soho causes some damage to the adjoining properties. Noho, as well, has seen similar construction accidents, such as when the Macklowe Organization undermined a residential loft building north of E. Houston St. on Broadway.

“There’s no break in it in this administration, especially after 9/11,” Simons said of the building boom.



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