The Cliffs faces an uphill battle
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 26, 2013 | 475 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Wolfert, co-owner of The Cliffs, during the grand opening of the rock-climbing gym.
Mike Wolfert, co-owner of The Cliffs, during the grand opening of the rock-climbing gym.
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The Cliffs, an indoor rock-climbing gym in Long Island City, has been hit with a partial vacate order by the Department of Buildings (DOB) after it was determined that the owner did not acquire a valid certificate of occupancy.

In addition, DOB inspectors also noted 33 violations, including a lack of exit signs, a final construction sign-off, and a fire protection plan. Before the owner can obtain a valid certificate of occupancy, all 33 items must be resolved.

“Apparently someone called in an anonymous complaint to the 311 system,” said Mike Wolfert, co-owner of The Cliffs. “That complaint was fictitious.”

He said that the “fictitious” tip led to an inspection from the DOB, which resulted in the vacate order.

“We have submitted everything,” he said, claiming that the DOB has had the information since the beginning of the month. “We’re hoping to hear of a date that they reviewed the plans. We haven’t heard back from them.”

Wolfert said that the gym is not dangerous and the issues that DOB raised are mostly a result of paperwork.

However, a spokesperson for DOB said that it may be months before the gym is up and running again.

“The property owner will not be able to obtain a final or temporary certificate of occupancy until the conditions related to the partial stop work order and vacate order are resolved,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson also said that the agency has not received any of the documentation that Wolfert claims he submitted over two weeks ago.

One issue that Wolfert said the DOB confused was that the facility did not have a special permit to operate as a physical culture institution. A spokesperson for the Board of Standards and Appeals stated that The Cliffs does indeed posses the necessary documentation regarding the special permit.

Wolfert referred to the process as “frustrating,” and said that he wants to open his gym as soon as possible.

“I just want to make it clear that the facility is up to code,” he said.

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