Residents told to stay off balconies at property associated with owners of collapsed Bronx building

Kristin Thorne Image
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Residents told to stay off balconies at Bronx apartment building
Kristin Thorne has more on the new order.

SOUNDVIEW, Bronx (WABC) -- Dozens of people living at an apartment building in the Bronx are being told not to go out on their balconies because it could be dangerous, and the Eyewitness News 7 On Your Side Investigates team found out and confirmed with city officials that the building is associated with the owners of the building that collapsed in the Bronx last week.

Three days after the partial building collapse at Billingsley Terrace, the New York City Department of Buildings issued a partial vacate order at 1210 Croes Avenue in Soundview.

The building has 21 floors and 160 apartments.

Residents in the C apartments of the building - the corner apartments - were told to clear items off their balconies and to stay off them. Tenants in the building in the C apartments can apply to have their rents reduced for the time they are not able to use their balconies.

"We were told anyone in the C apartments not to use the balconies because they are dangerous," David Correa, the president of the building's tenant association, told investigative reporter Kristin Thorne.

A violation order posted on the front door of the building said that a facade inspector visited the property on December 13 and noted "cracks from second floor to 11th floor (at corners) and several places. It can create safety hazard."

A spokesperson for the city's buildings department clarified that the facade was deemed a safety hazard to the public outside the building and the owners were ordered to put up sidewalk sheds to protect people from falling debris. Correa said the sidewalk sheds went up earlier this week.

The buildings department told Eyewitness News that following last week's partial building collapse, DOB investigators immediately initiated a comprehensive audit of all the properties that have a connection to the various parties associated with 1915 Billingsley Terrace.

"The ongoing inspection sweeps being conducted of these related properties are being conducted out of an abundance of caution, and all in the interest of public safety. To date, none of these inspections have turned up evidence of structural stability concerns that would necessitate vacating the building and displacing the residents," the department said in a statement to Eyewitness News.

Eyewitness News found that the owner of 1210 Croes Avenue - 1210 Croes LLC - shares a P.O. Box with the property owner of 1915 Billingsley Terrace, which is 1915 Realty LLC based in Midwood.

We also found that David Kleiner - listed on the DOB website as the property owner of 1210 Croes - works at the same office phone number as 1915 Realty. We left a message there for Kleiner Thursday, but never heard back.

Amone Gellineau lives in one of the C apartments at 1210 Croes.

"I'm not scared," she said. "But, I want my terrace fixed so I could go back out there and enjoy it without having to worry."

The DOB said 1210 Croes has been referred to the department's facade unit for further investigation and the department ordered the property owner to hire a professional engineer to conduct a full hands-on inspection of the building facade and submit an engineering report to the department.

The DOB said residents should not use the balconies until the facade is repaired.

"I'll never go back out there until I'm told it's safe," Gellineau said.

Nina Cruz said she is having trouble sleeping at night thinking about the destruction she saw of Billingsley Terrace and knowing she lives in one of the C corner apartments.

"Every night, we've been coming to the living room to sleep," she said.

Resident Aracelis Ortiz, who also lives in a C apartment, said she feels the same way.

"Oh yeah I don't sleep," she said. "I don't sleep at all."

Eyewitness News reviewed the facade inspection reports for 1210 Croes on the DOB website and found that the last report was submitted six years ago in 2017. According to New York City code, facades are supposed to be inspected every five years.

An inspector in 2017 listed the facade as safe.

"We're worried about our own facade here," Correa said.

The DOB said it is continuing to inspect properties associated with the owners of Billingsley Terrace.

"During these ongoing audits/sweeps we have not found any immediately hazardous structural conditions that would necessitate a vacate order that would displace tenants," the department said in a statement.


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