Scandal: Large-Scale Developments Approved Without Architect's Involvement

A New York Times investigation has revealed evidence of a development company repeatedly misleading the New York City Department of Buildings.

2 minute read

June 14, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A large group of glass covered skyscrapers rises above the Hudson River in Manhattan, with several new buildings under construction visible too.

Hudson Yards, as pictured with several buildings under construction in September 2021. | Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock

Matthew Haag reports for The New York Times on the curious case of the hotel on 11th Avenue in Hudson Yards. “At 642 feet tall, the building soars above the Hudson River, featuring jagged sets of floor-to-ceiling windows that shimmer in the sun,” writes Haag.

Here’s the catch: the architect of record on the project, Warren L. Schiffman, is on the record saying he had no role in designing the project. The same is true for other projects from the same developer, Marx Development Group: a hotel near La Guardia Airport (complete) and dual high-rise residences in Queens (still seeking approval), reports Haag.

New York state law requires buildings approved for construction to involve the oversight and involvement of a registered architect “to ensure that buildings are properly designed and do not pose a safety risk,” according to Haag.

So how’d the Hudson Yards hotel, currently under construction, get the permits necessary to build? “Officials at the city’s Department of Buildings said they did not find any structural defects in the plans for the Hudson Yards hotel, which is still under construction. Department records show that it reviewed the plans five times between 2018 and 2020, when they were ultimately approved,” according to Haag.

The department has since barred Schiffman from filing building plans, but more details on the fallout from the scandal are included in the source article below.

Monday, June 13, 2022 in The New York Times

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