Stop Work Order Halts Construction at Greenpoint Library

Stop Work Order Halts Construction at Greenpoint Library
A pedestrian inspects the stop work order posted to the Greenpoint Library construction site (Paul Stremple/Bklyner)

GREENPOINT – After delays pushing back the completion date of the Greenpoint Library by half a year, progress was being made on the site—until it was hit with a stop work order on New Year’s Eve.

The stop work order was posted by the Department of Buildings following an inspection of the site on Monday, December 31. The reason cited on the DOB site is “Failed to provide construction superintendent and competent person on site as require [sic].”

On the physical order posted to the site at 107 Norman Avenue, near McGuinness Boulevard, two additional violations are listed: no fireguard and inadequate site safety plan:

The stop work order was posted following an inspection on New Year’s Eve (Paul Stremple/Bklyner)

Just before noon on Wednesday, January 2, the construction site was empty, with no workers present nor anyone at the trailer for Westerman Construction. Calls made to Westerman’s office went unanswered, as well.

Signs of progress were in evidence, however, since the last time an issue arose at the site. While the building was originally slated to be finished by December of 2018, the project was delayed by the discovery and removal of subsurface asbestos at the site of the former library.

Now, columns and girders can be seen rising above the green construction fencing, a sign that the building may indeed be on track for its new completion date: Summer 2019. That is, of course, if the stop work order can be reversed and construction can once again continue.

“The safety of the new Greenpoint Library project and the people working there is our highest priority,” said a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Library in a statement.

“The stop work order filed over the holidays was administrative, concerning the filing and location of construction documents. We are working to resolve these issues and look forward to being back to work next week delivering a world-class, environmentally-sustainable library for Greenpoint.”

A look through a window in the construction fence reveals progress being made at the site (Paul Stremple/Bklyner)

The building being replaced was one of Brooklyn’s busiest library locations, said Brooklyn Public Library President Linda E. Johnson at the groundbreaking in 2017. There have been libraries in Greenpoint for the last 111 years, she added, referencing the Carnegie library, which was torn down in the 1970s.

The new library is being built in part with a $5 million grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF), the facility will provide a location for community education on environmental issues and advocacy along with its traditional library functions. The library will offer 300 hours of environmental programming each year.

A rendering of the new Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center (Via Marble Fairbanks)

Designed by Marble Fairbanks, the new building will receive a LEED Gold Building Certification, reducing energy consumption by 80% and saving 50,000 gallons of water per year. It will feature accessible green space and rain gardens on the roof, along with solar panels and rainwater cisterns.

Greenpoint’s troubled environmental history was the impetus for a new library space that focused on environmental education. The Exxon Mobil oil spill in Greenpoint was the largest terrestrial spill in the USA, and a recent study revealed high levels of lead contamination in backyard soil throughout the neighborhood.

While construction continues, a number of alternatives—like a nearby bookmobile and a pop-up library—will be available to Greenpoint residents.