July 27, 2018 By Christian Murray
The Hunters Point Library will not open until the summer of 2019 as the project continues to be besieged by construction delays.
The city agency in charge of overseeing the construction estimates that the library will be completed by the end of the year, with the Queens Library taking an additional three to six months to get it ready for opening.
The 22,000-square foot library, which has been under construction since 2015, was expected to open in the first half of 2017. However, between the complex design and issues with the general contractor it continues to be behind schedule.
The major source of the delays can be attributed to the performance of the general contractor, Triton Structural, according to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “The contractor has essentially defaulted on the project.”
“The subcontractors were not getting paid and stopped work,” Van Bramer said. He said that the mayor’s office considered getting rid of Triton but decided against it because it could have delayed the project another two years.
Van Bramer said that the mayor has put pressure on the financial backers of Triton and the subcontractors are now being paid and the work is continuing.
Triton could not be reached for comment.
Van Bramer said that Laura Anglin, the deputy mayor of operations, has assured him that the project is a mayoral priority and the project is on track.
The Department of Design and Construction, which oversees Triton, issued a statement about the delays.
“The contractor has had difficulty performing certain parts of the construction but we’re working with them very closely to help them complete the project,” the agency said. “The DDC is working with Queens Library to open the new Hunters Point Library as quickly as possible.”
The construction of the library has been riddled with delays since its inception.
In the first half of 2017, there were problems getting specialized glass shipped in from Europe due to labor strikes in Spain. Upon its arrival there were delays installing it.
The initial groundbreaking was expected to take place in 2013 but was delayed until 2015. The groundbreaking was pushed back since the city couldn’t find a contractor willing to do the job at the project’s budget. The city then went back and simplified the design to reduce the cost.
The general contractor that bid and won the contract was Triton.
“They were the lowest bidder for the work and they have failed utterly and completely,” Van Bramer said.