Elevator problems persist at Long Beach high-rise
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Building Commissioner Scott Kemins said that the elevator company hired by the building’s owner, Queens-based Samson Management, applied for a permit on June 26 to replace the elevators, and the city granted it on July 12. “The question is, what have they been doing since October 29?” Kemins said.
Late last month, the city issued six summonses to Samson Management for lack of a working elevator, each carrying fines of $250 per day. Samson pleaded guilty to one summons in Long Beach City Court and paid a $200 fine.
Kemins, City Manager Jack Schnirman and City Council members Fran Adelson and Eileen Goggin visited the building on July 31 to see the elevators for themselves and to meet with tenants. They announced that the council intends to vote on a measure to increase the fine to $1,000 per day. A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20.
“For $250 a day, there is no incentive,” Adelson said. “Another thing we’re looking at is court injunctions to force the owner to take care of the elevators, and do it more expediently.”
Replacement could take a month
Kemins said that both elevators will be replaced, and that work on the inoperable unit is expected to begin in two weeks. The other elevator will remain in service until work on the first one is finished, which he said could take about a month. “We’ve spoken to the elevator company,” he said. “They’re doing whatever they can to keep one elevator running while they’re going to be renovating the other elevator.”
Goggin said that the city intends to keep pressure on the building’s owner to finish the work. “The conditions are outrageous,” she said. “It’s clearly not only the elevators that are not working, it’s the building itself. It’s in terrible condition.”
Jordan Hyman, an attorney for Samson Management, said that the building’s owner has been working diligently to complete the project, and is doing additional work to modernize the building. “The reason why they couldn’t start this job any sooner is because you have to have the parts retrofitted, and this is the fastest it could be done,” Hyman said, adding that work was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, and that Samson has authorized overtime pay to complete the work in four weeks instead of seven.