Today’s news:

Hospital stay! The city halts redevelopment of former medical center in Williamsburg

The Brooklyn Paper

The city has halted the redevelopment of the long-defunct Greenpoint Hospital after the project’s subcontractor was charged with underpaying workers at another site in the Bronx.

“We are taking the allegations very seriously,” said Eric Bederman, a spokesman for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “When that investigation is complete, we will consider its findings in determining whether to continue negotiations with [the developer].”

Last April, Queens-based Great American Construction fended off three rivals to win the contract to convert the former hospital site on Maspeth and Kingsland avenues into 240 units of below-market-rate housing.

But one of the losing bidders sued the city in February for “unfairly” awarding development rights of the $52-million project to the outer-borough company.

And last month, federal agents arrested Wendell Walters, a key city housing official who helped steer the contract to Great American, for allegedly accepting $600,000 in unrelated bribes from a handful of developers.

Two weeks later, the city and the US Department of Labor launched an investigation into Great American’s subcontractor, Bayport Construction, after several of its construction workers complained the developer underpaid them nearly 20 percent of hourly wages owed for work at a city-owned Bronx site, according to the Daily News.

In response, the city is withholding $575,000 in funding to Great American pending the outcome of those investigations.

Great American’s Samuel Gaccione said the project is “at a standstill” because of the litigation, but was confident he would be breaking ground soon.

“We’re still looking forward to developing affordable housing in Greenpoint,” said Gaccione.

But neighborhood residents say the scandal should disqualify Great American from developing the site.

“The city needs to back down from this bad decision,” said Jan Peterson of the Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Coalition, a losing bidder. “This whole thing is just a travesty. This is the kind of things that cause whole communities to have a lack of faith in the public sector and the private sector.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links