Archives: New York

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Repurposing Real Estate Development to Counter Weakened Demand: Know the Risks Before Terminating Contracts

Pacta sunt servanda, i.e., agreements must be kept. This applies in both good economies and bad. Companies considering a modification of their business operations to offset lower revenue must be mindful of existing commercial contracts. Implicit in almost every New York agreement is a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the course of … Continue Reading

Finding Synchronicity Between Governor Cuomo’s New Cluster Action Initiative and the NYC DOB’s Corresponding Requirements

Synchronicity A connecting principle, Linked to the invisible Almost imperceptible Something inexpressible. Science insusceptible Logic so inflexible Causally connectable Nothing is invincible. “The Police”, 1983. This week, in response to the emergence of COVID-19 hot spots in downstate New York, Governor Cuomo instituted a new “cluster action initiative” to “crush” the clusters and contain the … Continue Reading

Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: How Much Does the Public Value Privacy? (Part II)

As our previous post stated, the commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction has gained some traction with the passage of the New York City Council’s bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades. With this … Continue Reading

Guidance on Using Drones for Real Estate and Construction in Dense Cities: Getting Close – But Not Too Close (Part I)

The commercial use of drones, or small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), for urban real estate and construction may finally be gaining traction. This month, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring the Department of Buildings (DOB) to study the feasibility of using sUAS to inspect building facades.… Continue Reading

Robinson+Cole Hosts Fourth Construction Industry Roundtable

Robinson+Cole’s Construction Group hosted its fourth— but first ever virtual — Construction Industry Roundtable on July 14, 2020. Representatives of major design and construction industry organizations and stakeholders in the Northeast were in attendance to discuss the state of the regional market and to look ahead for trends to watch for 2021.… Continue Reading

OSHA’s COVID-19 Guidelines for the Construction Industry are Generally Consistent with New York State’s and New York City’s Existing Guidelines

This post was co-authored with Jonathan Schaefer, who is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group. Jon focuses his practice on environmental compliance counseling, occupational health and safety, permitting, site remediation, and litigation related to federal and state regulatory programs. On May 26, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a … Continue Reading

New York Empire State Development Issues Guidance for Construction Staging Activities

In anticipation of reopening all construction activities statewide, on May 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that construction staging activities would be allowed to commence before the Regions officially reopen. On May 31, 2020, the New York Empire State Development (“ESD”) updated its Guidance on Executive Order 202.6 (“NY Guidelines”) to provide specifications regarding construction staging. With … Continue Reading

New York’s Multi-Faceted Approach to Reopening “Non-Essential” Construction

COVID-19’s impact in New York has been particularly region-specific. To address the disparity, Governor Cuomo created a four-phase reopening plan to be implemented where geographic regions meet their required “health metrics.” Each phase correlates with a group of industries in which their non-essential businesses may permit the return of their in-person workforce – under certain … Continue Reading

An Eye in the City Sky

Why it might be time to reconsider permitting the use of drones for development & construction in dense urban areas   Excerpt of a contributed article published in Construction Business Owner magazine on May 19, 2020. COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas has been attributed to their density, infrastructure and inherent difficulty with … Continue Reading

Time to Reconsider Permitting Use of Drones for Development and Construction in Dense Urban Areas?

COVID-19’s severe impact on some major metropolitan areas has been attributed to their density, infrastructure and inherent difficulty with “social distancing.” This same challenge with social distancing has led to either mandatory or pressured shutdowns of construction projects throughout many states and metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, and particularly during the shutdowns, building-safety mandates require that some … Continue Reading

Landmarks Preservation and the Economy During COVID-19

This month the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission celebrated its 55th anniversary. Also this month, since the issuance of the emergency orders stemming from the COVID-19 public health crisis, the agency is scheduling its first public hearing using the Zoom teleconferencing platform. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 21, at 9:30 a.m., and can … Continue Reading

Ongoing Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Construction Projects in Major Markets

As we began to describe on March 18, the economic impacts of the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on the construction industry are becoming more severe as the pandemic continues and spreads. Substantial uncertainty remains, however – as of the date of this post, the “peak” of the pandemic in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts is expected … Continue Reading

New York Clarifies “Emergency” and “Essential” Construction

Following Governor Cuomo’s order and the Empire State Development (ESD) guidance on March 27, 2020, which provided that all “non-essential construction” except “emergency construction” must shut down, this week the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings issued clarification about the terms “emergency” and “essential” construction (the “Bulletin”).… Continue Reading

New York Construction Building Owners Assume New Roles and Responsibilities in Wake of Construction Shutdowns

With many New York City construction projects deemed non-essential, owners find themselves with partially completed work coupled with legal obligations to maintain the safety of the property. The temporary shutdown shifts responsibilities (and liability) for maintaining the safety of the property and the public to the owner. From maintaining permits to weekly inspections and weather … Continue Reading

Government Approval: When It’s Not a Sure Bet

Excerpt of a contributed article published in the New York Law Journal on March 31, 2020. Last month’s court decision ordering the removal of potentially as many as 20 floors of a high-rise building (The Committee For Environmentally Sound Development v. Amsterdam Avenue Redevelopment Associates, Sup. Ct., N.Y. Co., Index No. 157273/2019) shook the local … Continue Reading

Much of New York Construction is Now Also “on PAUSE”

Although Governor Cuomo put “New York State on PAUSE” a week ago, at that time, “construction” was not specifically exempted from his Executive Order and the Empire State Development’s (ESD) guidance on what businesses were subject to the 100 percent workforce reduction. Yet, pursuant to a further directive from the Governor, on March 27, 2020, … Continue Reading

The Federal Reserve’s Powers to Pave the Way for Continued Development and Construction Through COVID-19

As the Coronavirus has encapsulated the world, government go-aheads to construction firms are welcome relief to the industry. Lenders’ collective reaction to the current economic concerns is another matter. Future financing is always imperative to ensure ongoing construction as well as new projects. Government responses are changing by the day, but the Federal Reserve (the … Continue Reading

Caution When Approaching Artistry

A $6.75 million judgment was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, against a developer that whitewashed 45 spray-painted artworks on its site — several months before the demolition permits were issued. See Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., — F.3d —-2020 WL 826392 (February 20, 2020). The trial court had issued the … Continue Reading

Will Claims Against Closely-Held Condominium Developers Be Thwarted by New York’s Newly-Adopted Uniform Voidable Transactions Act?

Property development companies regularly create single-purpose entities (SPE) to acquire new real estate for development, construction or renovations. SPEs are often comprised of only a few members, and no assets beyond the property itself, and are considered “closely-held” companies. There has been a growing trend in New York construction defect lawsuits in which boards of … Continue Reading

NYC Amends Its Façade Inspection and Safety Program to Push Building Owners into Action

In the wake of the tragic death of architect Erica Tishman, who was killed by falling debris from a brick tower in midtown Manhattan in December 2019 , the New York Department of Buildings (DOB) amended its rules governing exterior wall inspections and repairs. The new rules went into effect on February 20, 2020. Known … Continue Reading

An Unfounded Lien: What’s an Owner to Do? And Can it Recover its Attorneys’ Fees?

A subcontractor has liened the property even though the owner has paid in full for its work. The general contractor has disappeared. What should an owner do next? And will its attorneys’ fees be recoverable? In New York, a mechanic’s lien, although filed in the county clerk’s office on the project owner’s land record, secures … Continue Reading

New York Requires Sexual Harassment Policies in Compliance with New Requirements to Be Distributed by Tuesday, October 9, 2018 (But Deadline Extended for Newly Mandated Training)

As we have written about previously, this past Spring the New York State Legislature and New York City Council adopted broad new requirements to combat workplace gender-based harassment. Adopted in April and May by the New York General Assembly and New York City Council, respectively, the sweeping sexual harassment laws represent a renewed and comprehensive … Continue Reading

Will Strict “No Damages for Delay” Clauses Be Outlawed on New York Public Construction Projects? Stay tuned.

For years, general contractors and trade contractors have faced very strict “no damages for delay” clauses on New York State construction projects. The tides are changing.  If signed into law, S. R. 06686, Reg. Sess. 2017-2018 (NY 2017) will require public entities to allow contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to recover for costs associated with project … Continue Reading
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