NJ Architect Identified as Falling Victim Was ‘Dizzy,’ Not Anchored Before Deadly Tumble


New Jersey architect Bruno Travalja has been identified as the 52-year-old man who fell from the Flatotel Hotel site yesterday afternoon, the New York Police Department confirmed.

The victim was wearing a harness but it was not tied to an anchor when he went to inspect a railing on the 48th story terrace of the site at 135 West 52nd Street Thursday afternoon, said a New York City Department of Buildings official.

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Travalja kneeled down to inspect something, stood up and said he felt dizzy, the official said. He then tumbled over the 18-inch temporary wall protecting the terrace, falling 42 stories. Online news site Gothamist said he landed between 135 West 52nd Street and the neighboring 1301 Avenue of the Americas.  

Police and the Fire Department of New York were called to the site between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. where they found Travalja with “trauma to the body,” police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Earlier reports identified the victim as a construction worker.

Work at the site has been fully shut down, the DOB official said, and the agency is conducting an investigation.

The Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity have been converting the Flatotel into residential condominiums. There will be 109 units at the repurposed property, of which 87 apartment have been sold, as The Real Deal reported in May.

A spokeswoman for Clipper Equity, when asked for a comment, referred Commercial Observer to a statement from New Line Structures—the on-site construction company working on the project.    

“We mourn this loss and our prayers are with his family and loved ones,” a representative from the company said in a statement.