The list of “essential” construction projects and permitted work has ballooned sixfold since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a virtual construction shutdown last month, Department of Buildings data shows. Some 4,936 job sites are now allowed to be worked on, up from about 800 on April 3, according to the Buildings Department. Among them: hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a new Queens Target, and, as the Columbia Spectator first reported, the future home of Columbia University’s business school. The greenlighted projects also include renovation work on rental buildings under an exception for a “sole worker,” raising concerns for tenants. ‘A Joke’ Under a revision of its original shutdown guidance, the state has expanded “essential” building work beyond primarily infrastructure projects, hospitals and affordable housing. As long as ground already has been broken, construction now can also proceed on any type of business that’s allowed to continue in-person operations during the state’s coronavirus-driven “pause.”
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