East Village residents forced to vacate due to luxury high-rise construction

A new luxury building in Manhattan is causing a stir in one East Village neighborhood, and it hasn't even been constructed yet.  

Next-door neighbors to the empty lot at 644 E. 14th Street were forced to vacate their apartments last week because their building is at risk of collapse.

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According to the Department of Buildings, the reason is because of construction being done for the 24-story luxury building. 

Tenants are still packing up any belongings they can after being told they had to vacate immediately.

Lindsey Gainey has lived in the building, which is on the corner of E. 14th Street and Avenue C, for more than two years. 

Apartment buildings in the East Village neighborhood. New York has surged past London as a pricier location to purchase prime residential real estate, according to new data from Knight Frank's annual wealth report. Photographer: Alex Kent/Bloomberg v

"Everything I've worked for is in that apartment, so going in was very sad, but we had a mission to get in and get out and get a few essentials," Gainey said. 

There are cracked walls in her apartment. One picture even shows the separation between the floor and wall.

There are also cracks throughout the outside of the building.

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DOB says the 5-story building’s structural stability has been compromised.

Residents of connecting buildings on the block, like Katherine Jenkins, says they saw this coming.

"Everybody in our buildings is outraged about it," Jenkins said. "These are 120-year-old buildings. This result was predictable."

Madison Realty Capital is the developer and tells FOX 5 NY 5 in a statement:

"Safety is our top priority and professional engineers and contractors at 644 East 14thStreet and 642 East 14th Street are working to implement a remediation plan as quickly as possible. We are also working with the Department of Buildings to ensure the safety of the site and neighboring buildings. Notably, the structural issues at 642 East 14th Street long predate the current construction at 644 East 14th."

Gainey and other tenants filed numerous complaints to 3-1-1 when the cracks first formed months ago.

Now dozens of tenants are staying in hotels provided by the American Red Cross. Lindsey stayed in a hotel room for a couple of nights, but generous friends are letting her stay over.

"My partner and I packed a suitcase each and that’s what we’ve been living out of for the past week, so thankfully, we have friends all over the East Village that have been rallying behind us," Gainey said. 

DOB adds that the building is not in imminent risk of falling, but there is a partial stop work order issued that allows for emergency shoring work to be done on the site.

Tenants do not know when they'll be allowed back in.