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Durst Sues Jamestown, Says Times Square Scaffolding Makes Area 'Ripe For Muggings'

The Durst Organization is taking its Times Square neighbor to court over a sidewalk shed it claims will make the streets of the tourist district more prone to violent crime.

Times Square

The Durst entity that owns 151 West 42nd St., formerly known as 4 Times Square, has filed a lawsuit against Jamestown over its construction safety measures for One Times Square. Durst's suit alleges Jamestown's scaffolding, installed in recent weeks, stretch onto Durst's property and cut off too much of the heavily trafficked pedestrian area.

“The unnecessarily extended sidewalk shed — which is not required by the Building Code — will cause extreme congestion and create an obscured area ripe for muggings, theft, assault, drug use, and other criminal activity,” Durst’s attorneys wrote in the complaint. “As such, the sidewalk shed will not only fail to protect the public health, but it will actually cause public health and safety to be severely compromised, imposing an immediate threat to Plaintiff, New York City citizens, and the millions of tourists that will travel through the Times Square area.” 

Sidewalk sheds have been erected as Jamestown embarks on a $500M redevelopment of One Times Square, the long-vacant building that is the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop.

The developer secured a $425M refinancing deal from JPMorgan Chase in May, enabling it to renovate the 118-year-old property, open 12 new floors to the public, integrate virtual reality experiences into the property and install a rooftop viewing deck, Commercial Observer reported.

Construction requires sidewalk sheds to extend approximately 20 feet from the site, but the sidewalk shed from One Times Square’s east side extends approximately 100 feet, Durst’s suit alleges. The suit says that Jamestown’s sidewalk shed extends farther into Durst's property than it does to other neighboring buildings, cutting sidewalk space down from a width of 100 feet to 40 and opening the area up to a litany of risks.

A representative from The Durst Organization declined to comment, but a spokesperson for Jamestown told Bisnow in an email statement that the scaffolding was in place for safety reasons.

“The protection plan for the site follows city-mandated safety protocols and was approved by the Department of Buildings earlier this year," the spokesperson for Jamestown said. "Safety is our top priority, and we remain committed to maintaining a safe environment at the site throughout the construction period.” 

Durst met with Jamestown prior to filing the suit in an attempt to resolve the dispute, the suit claims, but Jamestown insisted that the sidewalk shed’s size had been mandated by the New York City Department of Buildings. However, Durst also claims that the DOB advised that Jamestown could submit an alternative plan for consideration.

“The statements by both DOB and Developer, unfortunately, confirm that each is finger pointing at the expense of the general public and Plaintiff,” the suit says.

An increase in violent crime has been seen as a major impediment for New York City on its road to full economic recovery, and Midtown has been at the heart of concerns, with the New York Police Department increasing patrols and blockades in the area last month. 

UPDATE, AUG. 1, 6 P.M. ET: This story has been updated to include comment from Jamestown.