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Apartment Building Partially Collapses In Bronx After Structural Integrity Warnings

An apartment building in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx partially collapsed Monday afternoon, leaving emergency workers searching the rubble late into the evening.

1915 Billingsley Terrace, a 46-unit multifamily property in the Bronx that partially collapsed Monday afternoon years after inspectors issued warnings over its structural integrity.

The New York City Fire Department said no deaths or injuries were reported following the partial collapse of the seven-story property, located at 1915 Billingsley Terrace, The New York Times reported

The FDNY is in the preliminary stages of an investigation into the collapse and its cause. The 46-unit property’s owner, an entity called 1915 Realty, had received multiple warnings in recent years regarding the property’s structural integrity.

The property last sold in 2004 for $3M and also had six commercial units on its ground floor, according to PropertyShark.

The property’s brick facade was reported as unsafe following an inspection by a structural engineer in 2020. The inspection unveiled “significant masonry damage throughout the facade” that was “generally caused by aging,” the Times reported.

The structural engineer who conducted that inspection, Richard Koenigsberg, told The City Monday that imagery from the collapse indicated it wasn't related to the deteriorated facade. He said work on the facade had been completed in September.

“It looks to be the problem would be at the first floor. I say that because of the way it collapsed,” Koenigsberg told The City. “It looks like the failure of the corner column at the first-floor level. And then rest comes down.”

The city issued a second violation for hazardous facade conditions a year later, in March 2021, public records show. The New York City Department of Buildings fined the landlord $2,400 for “deteriorated and broken mudsills” at the bottom of scaffolding that was around the property. The damage could affect the scaffolding’s “structural stability causing a potential collapse,” the Times reported.

The DOB had received more than a half-dozen 311 complaints about the building's condition since August, The City reported.

The owner of a tax preparation office on the ground floor told the Times that moments before the collapse took place, a major water leak had taken place on the first floor. The business owner, Flor Jimimian, stepped outside to inspect it, with the building caving in moments later.

“I’m very lucky, now that I’m thinking about it,” Jimimian told the Times.

The Bronx District Attorney’s office launched an investigation into the collapse on Tuesday, in collaboration with the FDNY and the DOB, Gothamist reported.

Koenigsberg, the engineer who reported the facade problems in 2020, told Gothamist that he met with officials from the DA’s office on Monday night.

“This is a catastrophic structural collapse of a column at the corner of the building,” he said. “It’s amazing no one was hurt.” 

David Kleiner was identified as the landlord through property records seen by Gothamist, and his company, DK & CK Management, runs the property. He is unsure what caused the collapse, he told Gothamist, and is busy trying to relocate multiple tenants who were left homeless by yesterday’s events.

Kleiner, who also goes by Dovid Kleiner or "David David,” was featured on the Public Advocate’s worst landlords list in 2016. His properties are often the subject of tenant organizing, Gothamist and local publication the Bronx Free Press reported.

Kleiner didn't immediately respond to Bisnow's request for comment.

UPDATE, DEC. 12, 3:15 P.M. ET: This story has been updated with more information about the building's ownership and new information about the Bronx District Attorney's investigation.