City drops red flag on 9 Downtown buildings

Nine storm-battered buildings in Lower Manhattan have been deemed uninhabitable by city officials.

Several buildings along South Street — with the addresses 104, 105, 106, 107 and 108 — have been issued red placards by the city Department of Buildings, according to city D.O.B. spokesperson Ryan FitzGibbon. A building situated at 502 Canal St. has also been red-flagged as unusable until further notice.

“Red placards do not mean a building must be demolished,” she noted, “just that it was severely damaged by the storm.” The D.O.B. did not provide further information about the current condition of these buildings.

City inspectors red-flagged the Downtown buildings during inspection visits to close to 900 buildings in Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street and east of Delancey Street, FitzGibbon said. Of the remaining 900 Manhattan properties that were evaluated, approximately 300 experienced some degree of flooding and had various levels of electrical or plumbing damage.

Edifices that sustained moderate or small amounts of electrical or plumbing damage received yellow “restricted use” placards, while those that had no apparent damage received green tags.

All of the buildings that were given red placards require immediate attention, according to Byron Munoz, the D.O.B.’s community affairs liaison. “To address that,” he said, “we issue what is known as an ‘immediate emergency declaration.’ If the owner is unable to address the situation, the job is then taken over by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which then contracts the work to have the issue remedied.”

The D.O.B. is waiving violations building owners would normally be subjected to if they lack the proper permitting to begin renovations, he noted, saying, “They don’t need to file permits until two days after having commenced the work.”

Speaking of all of the surveyed properties, Munoz said, “We are engaging in detailed assessments of these properties, which means that…we’re going back to those locations to further assess what situations may be affecting those locations.”

— Aline Reynolds 

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