SilverBrick Square contractor denies improper work after project halted by Springfield inspection

SilverBrick Square contractor denies improper work after project halted by Springfield inspection

Silverbrick Square apartment renovation project put on hold

SPRINGFIELD — One day after the city issued a stop work order at the SilverBrick Square housing redevelopment project on Chestnut Street, citing plumbing issues, the general contractor defended the work being done and said the company is “following all possible rules here.”

“We have been working with the city eagerly to get the project completed,” said Anthony Bianco, president and owner of A&G Contracting of New Haven, Connecticut, the general contractor. “We are in operations again as of today.”

But Steven Desilets, the citys Code Enforcement commissioner, said the stop work order remains in effect pending his review of inspection reports and additional documents needed regarding the plumbing and ventilation system. He said there was an inspection of the building “from top to bottom” on Thursday with representatives of the ownership and contractor present on site.

The SilverBrick Group, based in New York City, is the owner and developer of the 99-unit apartment renovation project at 122 Chestnut St., formerly the YMCA.

Desilets said the stop work order was issued Wednesday for all work in the building after some work done on the site was walled off from view without a required city inspection, and some of the plumbing work was allegedly done by unlicensed workers.

However, Desilets said the plumbing subcontractor hired in October to fix past problems, 413 Plumbing & Heating, of Pittsfield, used licensed workers and is not accused of any improper work. But he said there was some work — not performed by 413 Plumbing — in a few apartments that was done without permits and by unlicensed workers.

Bianco denied any improper work being done and denied that any work was covered over with drywall ahead of inspection. Plumbing work was done by licensed plumbers, he said.

“Everything is wide open for inspection,” Bianco said. “Nothing is closed up at all that cant be seen.”

Bianco said that all renovation work can proceed in the building except the plumbing, pending A&G Contracting engineers submitting some drawings and documents, which it hopes to occur on Friday.

On Wednesday, Desilets was joined by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and some city councilors in sharply criticizing SilverBrick Group for running into plumbing issues twice in the past month, leading to a stop order on the plumbing work in October and the stop order Wednesday on the entire project.

“Were really not looking to hold up this project, but in our official capacity, we try to make sure this project is done right, and up to minimum standards of the code for the protection of the occupants of the building,” Desilets said.

Aaron J. Papowitz, founder and managing principal of SilverBrick Group, did not respond to requests for comment from The Republican.

SilverBrick purchased the building in February for $4.8 million and began a $6.2 million, 99-unit apartment renovation project.

City Council President Orlando Ramos has asked the Law Department to begin the process of revoking a 10-year tax incentive that was granted to SilverBrick for the housing development. The incentive is estimated to save the company over the next 10 years a total of $150,000 in property taxes, assessed on the new value added to the building, not the value when purchased.

Sarno said Wednesday the situation with the SilverBrick development is “total BS and its unacceptable.” He has called for a complete review of the issues by the Code Enforcement office, Law Department and Board of Assessors to consider and pursue “appropriate sanctions.”

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield apartment renovation project is on hold for the second time in the last few weeks. 

The Springfield City Council is considering revoking the tax break they granted to the Silverbrick Group after the city discovered plumbing violations in their Chestnut Street apartment renovations project.

The Springfield Code Enforcement Department issued a second "stop order" on the Silverbrick Square apartment renovation project Wednesday. 

Code enforcement Commissioner Steven Desilets told 22News the plumbing violations included the use of unlicensed workers and sealing off work without inspections.

Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos said the first stop order was issued on the project in October and they warned SilverBrick that they would consider revoking their tax break if more violations were found.

"It is our responsibility to protect the taxpayers and its not in the city's best interest to continue subsidizing this project," said Orlando Ramos, Springfield City Council president.

Desilets told 22News the second stop order will remain in effect until they finish their entire inspection of the Silver Brick square apartment building. 

Ramos said they are inviting SilverBrick to attend their next city council meeting where they will discuss the possible revocation of the tax break.  

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Posted in Springfield