These Properties Made FDNY’s Fast-Track List

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


Prominent real estate projects appear on the fire inspection fast-track list at the center of a federal probe into Eric Adams’ campaign fundraising.

The so-called Deputy Mayor of Operations List features properties owned by Rockrose Development, the Durst Organization and Related Companies, according to a spreadsheet obtained by Gothamist. As previously reported, a sushi restaurant at SL Green’s One Vanderbilt was on the list as well.

The projects appeared on a June 2022 internal list of projects “prioritized” for crucial Fire Department approvals. The spreadsheet counts about two dozen projects that were to receive expedited fire alarm plan reviews and equipment installation inspections.

At the time, inspections took an average of 18 weeks, and in some cases much longer. The typical wait has since been reduced to 14 weeks, Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi said Tuesday. City officials have said the list preceded the Adams administration and is based on the city’s priorities, not the real estate industry’s or campaign contributions.

Among the projects to appear were Rockrose’s luxury apartment complex at 555 West 38th Street, Related’s development at 50 Hudson Yards and Durst’s Sven, a luxury residential tower in Long Island City — one of the tallest buildings in Queens.

The Ritz-Carlton NoMad on West 28th Street, Facebook’s space in Vornado Realty Trust’s Farley Building at 421 Eighth Avenue, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Staten Island, a Taco Bell at 4176 White Plains Road in the Bronx,

A Gotham Realty property made the list after CEO Sarah Cohen tried for months to get inspections done. “I’m not Vornado. I’m not SL Green,” she told Gothamist. “The only way I can get stuff done is by being a squeaky wheel, and I squeaked and squeaked and squeaked.”

Rockrose and representatives from the Related property didn’t respond to the publication’s request for comment. A spokesperson for Durst denied contacting City Hall about Sven’s inspections and said its efforts to get them done before the property’s planned opening were in vain.

The fire commissioner has admitted there was a priority list, although the mayor’s chief spokesperson said one does not exist. City Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Real Deal.

A homeless shelter, a preschool and a foster care facility were on the list obtained by Gothamist, but the presence of luxury developments and a fast-food joint may feed a perception that allies of City Hall and campaign donors were able to accelerate inspections.

Federal investigators are looking into the fire safety inspections. The issue was raised by Joseph Jardin, the former chief of the FDNY’s fire prevention bureau, who is suing to challenge his demotion by the department. Jardin reportedly told the FBI that scheduling was expedited for powerful real estate interests with City Hall connections.

Federal authorities are also investigating Adams’ advocacy as Brooklyn borough president to speed approvals for the Turkish government’s high-rise near the United Nations and whether Adams’ 2021 campaign collaborated with the Turkish government to illegally funnel foreign funds into the mayoral race.

Holden Walter-Warner

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