Deadly Construction Accident at the Trump Soho in N.Y.C. – Should Chicago Be Nervous?

A construction worker was killed on Monday at the Trump Soho in New York City when a wooden mold used to set concrete collapsed and he fell 42 floors to his death, according to the New York Times. The worker who died in the construction accident was decapitated in the fall and landed in an alley on the west side of the site. Another worker was thrown from the 42nd floor, but was caught by a safety net on the 40th floor.

The cause of the work accident is still under investigation. The New York City Buildings Department has issued a stop work order on the project until the General Contractor, Bovis Lend Lease, can show that work will continue in a safe manner. Bovis was issued four safety violations as a result of the accident. There have been 11 previous building code violations at the project site.

This accident happened just weeks before the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is scheduled to open. Five floors of the hotel are scheduled to open on January 30, 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune. The hotel will occupy floors 14-27, and the remaining levels are supposed to gradually open through the spring.

What is interesting is that as the hotel operates, there will still be a large construction project going on overhead as crews work to complete the 92 story tower. You have to question if Chicagoans will feel safe entering the hotel in light of the N.Y.C. accident. The hotel was originally scheduled to open December 3, 2007 but Trump was delayed in obtaining a city occupancy permit due to still having to complete fire safety work.

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A building as tall as the Trump has not been constructed in Chicago since 1974 when the Sears Tower was completed. It has been interesting to watch this huge building slowly creep up to the top of the skyline over the past months.

When the hotel opens, Trump can start closing sales on the 339 hotel condo units on the site. Everyone is already watching to see how those sales move forward in this tough real estate market. These sales, coupled with yesterday’s Soho accident, could make things a little tense for Trump over the next few months.