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Hudson Yards Hotel Tower Among Projects Built With Faked Architect Signoff

450 11th Ave., the site of Marx Development Group's under-construction Hudson Yards hotel.

Marx Development Group may be in hot water over several developments, after an investigation found that some of its highest-profile projects may have faked oversight by a registered architect.

The signature of retired architect Warren L. Schiffman was attached to building designs including two high-rise residential buildings in Queens, a hotel close to LaGuardia airport and the 51-story Hudson Yards hotel, which is still under construction. 

But Schiffman didn't review those projects, The New York Times reports, nor did he actively work on them. Instead, his signature may have been faked.

Upon retiring in 2016, Schiffman reportedly entered into an agreement with Marx Development Group CEO David Marx. A document signed by Marx and Schiffman in June that year detailed in eight steps how Marx Development Group’s design company, DSM Design Group, could continue using Schiffman’s signature for building plans, the Times found.

New York State requires all new buildings to have oversight and direct involvement from a registered architect to ensure buildings are properly designed and do not pose any safety risks. For big projects, this can cost developers millions of dollars.

The city's Department of Buildings banned Schiffman from filing new building plans in December, the Times reported, when it learned that some plans had been filed with Schiffman’s signature but without his review.

Schiffman has since forfeited his architectural license but is still receiving these payments, he told the Times in an interview. He alleged that he was never contacted by Marx Development Group to review building plans after signing the agreement.

The department had reviewed the Hudson Yards hotel plans five times between 2018 and 2020, finding no structural flaws, while the Queens residences have not yet received approval. The hotel close to LaGuardia, an AC Hotel property, was completed in 2019.

Marx Development Group has removed Schiffman’s name from several projects in recent months and has told the DOB that Schiffman has been replaced. Marx’s companies have built more than 40 projects, developed over 4M SF of real estate and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying city officials for their projects in recent years, the Times reported.