Architect on Hudson Yards Hotel Says He Never Saw the Plans
The architect whose seal of approval appears on the design of Marx Development Group’s 51-story hotel in Hudson Yards said he never reviewed the project.
Former DSM Design Group architect Warren Schiffman said he did not play an active role in designing Marx’s under-construction hotel at 450 11th Avenue, a 126-room hotel near LaGuardia Airport and a residential high-rise development in Queens, despite his signature appearing on all three plans, The New York Times reported.
Schiffman had a contract with DSM that allowed the firm to use his professional seal after he retired in 2016, but Schiffman forfeited his architecture license last month after admitting to the New York State Education Department, which oversees licensing, that he practiced architecture when he was not allowed to do so.
Schiffman, who is in his 80s, had a contract to receive $175,000 over a decade in quarterly payments from Marx for the use of his seal after he retired, according to the Times. While Schiffman said he received payments from the developer, he denied that he had an agreement with Marx, who has since removed Schiffman’s name from several of its projects, the Times reported.
A registered architect must oversee the plans of buildings in New York state for a property to be approved for construction — often at a cost of several millions of dollars to developers of large projects, the Times reported. Schiffman received substantially less money, and told the Times that he was not asked to review any design plans. While he said he renewed his license after he retired, Schiffman also denied taking the required courses to do so.
The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) found “no signs of structural defects” in the under-construction Hudson Yards hotel, a spokesperson for the agency told Commercial Observer. The DOB barred Schiffman from filing building plans in December after learning that someone may have fraudulently re-registered him with the state without his knowledge, according to the Times.
The spokesperson for the DOB did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it has reviewed Marx’s plans for the AC Hotel by Marriott near LaGuardia at 112-24 Astoria Boulevard or a 488-unit residential development at 71-05 Parsons Boulevard, which has not yet been approved.
Marx snagged $100 million in debt from Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies to cover predevelopment costs on the Hudson Yards hotel and hired another architecture firm, Tel Aviv-based Moshe Tzur Architects, to work on the project in 2019, CO reported. The developer also snagged a $67 million loan for its 37-story twin residential towers in Flushing, Queens.
Marx, Schiffman and Moshe Tzur did not immediately respond to requests for comment
Celia Young can be reached at email@example.com.