Prolific developer The Durst Organization has been slapped with a lawsuit alleging their residential structure The Helena at 57th Street and Eleventh Avenue does not comply with the Fair Housing Act. The massive 595-unit building has been singled out by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney for including excessively high thresholds, kitchens and bathrooms with insufficient space for people in wheelchairs to maneuver and mailboxes not fully accessible to people with disabilities, NYDN reports. The developer claims that they've been adamant about adhering to the city's own standards, which they argue the feds have now deemed deficient in comparison to federal standards. The Helena was constructed in 2005, well after the Fair Housing Act went into effect in 1991. A spokesman for the developer claims that Durst has not received any complaints about the accessibility of the structure in its eight years of operation.
The lawsuit is seeking a stop-work order at current Durst Organization projects, including the Bjarke Ingels-designed pyramid building at 625 West 57th Street, to be in place until the developer retrofits their past structures to address concerns and comply with the Fair Housing Act. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney is also seeking reparations for people harmed in the noncompliant spaces. The Helena's architect, FXFOWLE, has been named as a defendant in the case. The lawsuit marks the eighth filed in recent years towards developers who fail to comply with the Fair Housing Act.
· U.S. Attorney sues developer Durst Organization saying rental tower not fully accessible to disabled [NYDN]
· All Durst Organization coverage [Curbed]