Criminal charges filed in 2019 fatal facade at 729 Seventh Avenue

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 The Department of Buildings today announced that the corporate owners of 729 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, where a woman was fatally struck by a piece of falling decorative terra cotta façade in December 2019, were charged with violations of the Administrative Code in Manhattan Criminal Court. The criminal court summons charges 729 Acquisition LLC with violating provisions of the New York City Administrative Code that require all parts of a building, including the exterior walls and appurtenances, to be maintained in a safe condition, and for failure to comply with a commissioner’s order to repair the building’s damaged façade.

It is alleged that even though the defendants had been made aware of the deteriorating façade conditions that posed an immediate danger to the public, they failed to make necessary repairs and failed to install a sidewalk shed in front of the building to protect pedestrians from the unsafe façade conditions. The owners of 729 Seventh Avenue were first notified by the Department of the unsafe façade conditions in April 2019 and were subject to Department orders to immediately install a sidewalk shed in front of the building and start repairs. Leading up to the fatal façade collapse, the owners did not comply with these orders.

“Owning a building in our city comes with a straightforward legal responsibility to keep the property in a safe condition, and make repairs when needed,” said Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca. “Ignoring this responsibility is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Landlords should know that delaying required building maintenance will lead to consequences.”

Since Local Law 10 was first enacted in 1980, and later amended by Local Law 11 of 1998, New York City has required owners of buildings greater than 6 stories to retain a qualified licensed professional to examine the façades and exterior walls of those properties, and report the conditions they find to the Department once every five years for our review.

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