Earlier this week we ran the above progress shot of the trio of 15-story towers rising as part of the Columbus Village megaproject on the Upper West Side. We were alarmed by the nascent state of two of the buildings so long into construction, but now we have an answer as to why things are taking so long: Those darn unions! According to the Times, the high cost of union labor is being blamed by developers for holding up a slew of delayed/slow-moving projects, including Related's Hell's Kitchen tower, the Milstein family's Battery Park City development, and yep, Frank Gehry's 76-story Beekman Tower, where developer Bruce Ratner is threatening to cap construction at 40 floors if labor unions don't agree to concessions (Ratner has already canceled the undulating facade on one of the building's sides to save money). Talks are now underway between unions and builders to cut construction costs, and it's looking like a deal is near, but some developers think the savings (most likely 15%-20%) won't be enough to salvage big residential projects.
· Deal to Cut Costs Is Close For Builders and Unions [NYT]