Real estate developer, public safety offender, earns RIOC free pass

RIOC caves at Manhattan Park, handing them a free pass. For days, the real estate company blithely put lives at risk. The State twiddled its thumbs, then kissed butt. It did not surprise longtime observers. We’ve seen it before.

Yesterday, RIOC turned jelly-kneed in front of Manhattan Park’s senior management. They caved, allowing intrusive work to continue without a permit and with no penalties.

Let’s review:

  • In late July, with only a day’s notice for their own tenants, Manhattan Park started a radical redo of their street-facing lobby.
  • Soon, they forced foot traffic into Main Street, and wheelchairs were effectively banned.
  • RIOC floods the streets with an enormous vehicle fleet and pays a CEO who says she walks the community every day, but they were “surprised,” almost a week later.
  • After five days of media tub-thumping, RIOC awoke from its slumber and “met with Manhattan Park.” PSD acting chief Kevin Brown got the puzzling call where an engineer was needed.
  • Manhattan Park never applied for a permit, Brown found, or showed the slightest regard for public safety.
  • RIOC boldly shut the work down. The State’s spine dissolved after a couple of hours.

RIOC caves, green lights Manhattan Park Project without a permit

Manhattan Park sent wheelchairs and pedestrians into the street for days.
Last week, Manhattan Park pushed everyone into the street. No problem, says RIOC.

By Tuesday, RIOC made nice with Manhattan Park. Penalties were not assessed, and the State set up lighting, compensating for Manhattan Park’s failure. For free.

It’s all in the interest of public safety, RIOC said, but a spokesperson failed to explain why Manhattan Park wasn’t required to do it themselves.

On Wednesday, its spine still missing, RIOC let the work continue without a permit. The best they came up with was, “the building manager has been informed that he must apply for a permit to continue work.”

Not have one approved, mind you, just apply for one. And they were already working with taking even that small step.

“Isn’t RIOC essentially approving in advance, then? What’s the point of giving an approval without even seeing an application?” we asked.

“We’re not approving in advance,” RIOC preposterously shot back. “They’ve told us what they’re doing. We told them to make changes. They did.  They complied immediately.”

Did they?

RIOC claims they “informed the building manager that he must post appropriate signage and allow for proper access that is ADA compliant.”

Is this “appropriate signage?”

Conflicting signs at Manhattan Park
Is a slippery wooden ramp ADA compliant? Does anything here do more than show where the bus stop is and tell you to “watch your step?”

It looks a lot more like a free pass than anything resembling compliance.

Summing Up

Lackadaisical mismanagement by RIOC let Manhattan Park put lives in danger for days. There was no penalty.

Striking a tough pose, RIOC, in reality, caved at Manhattan Park. The State handed out more than a free pass. They laminated it.

This is like catching someone using your car without permission, thanking them for the privilege, then offering to polish the fenders, fill up the tank and check the oil before they drive away again.

It’s tempting to say, “RIOC did it again,” but the truth is, they never stopped doing it.

Real estate is king, and the rest of us are just along for the ride.

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3 Comments

    1. There may be less of that now as relations with China are not what they were and fewer students are coming here. Our worst experience was with an AirBNB style operation that partitioned off a once family home to make a barracks, covered the smoke detector with plastic and handled food waste so poorly, there was an outbreak of cockroaches on the floor.

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