NEW YORK | One Seaport Residences | 670 FT | 60 FLOORS (ON HOLD)

If the litigation goes on for years, which seems likely, there is no telling how long this hulk will be around. If at some it is a danger to people the city could order it taken down or fixed but they may not be able to find an outfit to foot the bill. In ectremis I think the city would have to do the demo and add itself to the list of creditors. This is a potential long term nightmare.


This is one of the most photographed areas of the city - the view from the Brooklyn Bridge is a classic image recognized around the world. It is such a crime to be marred by this hulk - imagine if that happened to the Eiffel Tower or The Parliament in London…

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My key interest is WHO, WHAT, HOW. Who is liable. What is the real issue: apparently (according to above articles & video) it is NOT the tilt. The “alignment issue” or Tilt or LEAN is not the problem: the building had been determined to be “stable” the Lean was apparently not significant enough to halt completion by the second builder (Ray Builders) who took over after first builder sued the developer.

They stopped building at some point because payment were not being made to the new contractor: it was not the tilt as being the cause of the stalled project.

I am interested in hearing something definitive regarding the liability. Was the structural engineer wrong about the viability of the “soil improvement” method for the foundation. Was the design/engineering not this issue; but “poor construction practice” on the part of the builder - as the developer claimed was the problem.

There was a ‘flaw’ or ‘defect’ that we know - but was it a ‘design/engineering’ defect, or a ‘construction defect’. It has to be one of the two; but I suspect the fact-of-the-matter will never be resolved or revealed.

This thread does a deep dive into those questions: so an answer could possibly surface at some point. If I find any news published - I will post.

Time will tell; it has only been about 8 years now from the early stages of design/construction; this will take some more time it seem - so stay tuned. :star_struck:



OK, this one always makes for lively discussion… :wink:

It is about 9 years now if you start from the Design Development stage of Contract Documents on this project. The public deserves some clear, concise answers on the status of this project.

My starting question is; Who dropped the ball. Was it the Developer, the Architects, the Construction Manager/Contractor or one of the building trades/sub-contractors.

To the best of my understanding, there is no way the liability/blame can be placed on the Developer: the culpability lies somewhere further downstream.

Photo taken this Saturday from the East River Ferry.

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It is the developers fault though, they did not want to pay the higher price for the foundations that were necessary to properly anchor the tower and instead asked the engineers and contractors to find a cheaper method.


There’s probably blame to go around.

Yes, it’s easy and tempting to hear about the foundation options they had and think it was stupid to not put deep pilings or even pilings down to bedrock. That seems like common sense to many of us. But I’m simply not an engineer.

If an actual engineer signed off on it and said it that foundation would be adequate, when that was unlikely, I’d put most blame there. Only a panel of experts could say if that was the case. Developers aren’t usually engineers, and we shouldn’t expect them to be; they are completely reliant on engineers to tell them what is required.

Or perhaps the plans were fine, but builders screwed up somehow. I don’t know.

It’s also possible a mistake was made in the soil study, for example. An engineer can only work with the data at hand, they often rely on that kind of data being accurate.

We just don’t know.

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That is a clear & concise statement on your conclusion. It seems contrary to both logic, and legal process to my understanding; but I will defer to those who may be more qualified to make a determination.

My understanding is the developer has no choice but to put their trust in those parties that are offering professional AEC services. If an Architect, or Engineer or Contractor claims they can legally, & safely provide a service for the best price in a competitive bid; I can not see how the Developer would be held liable for trying to contain costs.

This is just my general conjecture, and patiently await a more official determination.

This subject needs some more public outcry, and demand for a resolution. This is a blight on our skyline, and waterfront tourist attractions. It is almost a decade now, with no definitive answers, or actions taken to resolve the matter.

Thanks to all above for the exchange on this subject.

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I agree with rbrome’s assessment that multiple parties are at fault, but per your comment, developers are the ones incharge of the budget, not the contractor. They are the ones who make the final decision whether something is done and need to be consulted first on budgetary issues or anything related to decision making. There are no “things” (for lack of a better word) that are supposed to go under the radar of the developer/owner.

The developer may be putting their trust into their counterpart parties but they are still the one making decisions. I see it as a difference when one says they dont want to pay for something because it’s too expensive and then changing it to something cheaper vs choosing a less costly option to begin with.

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We will eventually hear what the final legal determinations are regarding this case. I will be surprised if the Developer is deemed responsible for the faulty foundation.

I look forward to any news about the ongoing legal proceedings.

Frankly, I blame THIS GUY…… :rofl:


Why? Because he’s gay?


All kidding aside: the blame/liability will most likely go to the foundation contractor who installed that faulty ‘soil improvement’ method vs the standard pile driving into bedrock method. We will all have to wait for the official legal findings.

I just thought of a clever name for this project: Fawlty Tower. That is one of my favorite Brit Coms. :rofl:

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The contractor isnt the one that decides that, its the structural engineer, who is overseen by the architect of record, who answers to the developer. The contractor may have been the one to build the foundation but theres a difference if they built it wrong vs if they built it correctly and it just wasnt sufficient enough. If they built it wrong that’s another story, but anything thats ever been mentioned is that the foundation wasnt sufficient enough, not that it was built improperly (atleast thats the only thing ive ever seen mentioned in articles).


OK, now we may be getting closer to the most likely outcome.

So, maybe it will be the Structural Engineer? I still think it will be anyone number of parties: but not the Developer. There will be some determination at some point; and it will be interesting to hear the final ‘official’ findings on the matter. I am just, throwing out some speculation, talking points and jokes.

It is an interesting topic; hope all enjoys too… :heart_eyes:

HINT - Listen for when she uses the term “Bearing Capacity”. That, I think, is the key issue here… :thinking:

Here is some good information on foundations that I posted further up this thread.

If anything was improperly tested/calculated when the geotechnical engineer was doing their work that would’ve been a factor in determining foundation methods used, it actually would be the developers fault because anything related to the site and its conditions prior to construction and all the trades related to that fall under the purview of the developer/owner. The developer/owner is supposed to provide all information related to the site to the architect and contractor.

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Those are all good points. It is all a learning process for me at this legal case. We have a few Lawyers on the forum: would be interesting to hear their take on the LIABILITY question.

Thanks for the input…


*As a law teacher for decades I have no idea which parties will ultimately be held responsible. So much depends on the factual story about the foundation, assuming that is the root problem. So many different characters might have erred. The list includes all those mentioned here—architect, engineers of various sorts, contractor, developer, geology types, and perhaps others. In addition all of these folks surely were covered by insurance companies. The terms of those policies may vary so it’s also hard to know which might ultimately bear some or all of the loss. In short, all the chatting in this thread is fascinating but ultimately speculative. We all are frustrated by the opacity and complexity of the process. But I guess we’ll just have to wait until the fog lifts. That will begin to happen when one of the judges actually renders a decision in some aspect of the sprawling litigation.


Great summation; and totally agree. At this point no one can say conclusively who IS liable, or guilty of ‘professional malpractice’ which has resulted in a faulty foundation.

My presumption has always been that the fault lies with the foundation contractor and/or structural engineer, or any number of other trades/service providers. It seem common sense that the Developer is not in any way culpable for the resulting ‘faulty’ foundation.

A developer has no choice but to put their trust in the professional service provider; and to select whichever provider he deems to have the best offer in a competitive bid.

The video I posted clearly explains the specific condition called “bearing capacity”. The ‘soil improvement’ method chosen clearly did not suffice: and pile driving into the bedrock was the only solution for achieving a sound foundation. The Developer could not have made any decision on that technical matter; and to find the developer liable in this case defies all common sense and legal process.

You are correct, no one KNOW is IS a fault - certainly not me. I do however want to take this opportunity to express my sense of injustice in finding fault with the the developer in this case - it just seems WRONG.

Thanks for the great summation: as you say - we nee to wait-and-see. :woozy_face:

Infoshare—You may well be right that the developer is unlikely to hear the loss. But if the developer knew about the risk of the foundation type used and approved it anyway, the story might be different. Again, we just don’t know the back story. I also should mention other factors. Some of the parties are in bankruptcy. That adds to the complexity. So do the liabilities that may arise in the chain of borrowing. And on top of all of that, legal fees are surely getting quite large. At some point the various litigation costs may spur everyone to settle. And even if the monetary issues are settled, we still don’t know what will happen to the unfinished hulk. I can’t imagine anyone wanting the property without getting it for free or for very little money or even being paid to take it. It’s the messiest real estate quandary I have ever seen, though I’m sure someone knows of a worse one from the past. Maybe the city should just condemn it, tear it down, and sell the land. In the end that may not cost very much. The condemnation price should be minor and the sale price may pay for the tear down.

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A couple bits of info to add to the discussion. All the land east of Pearl Street is landfill; most pre-Revolutionary. The foundations for this building and the hotel on the west part of the block were built at the same time. I actually thought it was one project at first. The hotel has had no issues to the best of my knowledge.